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Top 10 NGOs In India: A Few “Firsts” Among Many “Equals”

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By Neeraj Ramchandran:

NGOs in India have always been accorded a status much lower than they actually deserve. Given the surprising number of NGO-related scams which are unearthed on an everyday basis, it is quite justifiable for the public to be cynical. But it would be really unfortunate if we fail to acknowledge the hard work put in by these agencies at the grassroot level to fill those gaps which the Government couldn’t. Although most NGOs are doing a great service to this nation, a few of them stand out from the crowd. Here’s the list of the top ten NGOs of our country.

1.Helpage India: Established way back in 1978, HelpAge India has been working nationwide for the cause and care of the elderly for quite some time now. HelpAge India has played a pioneering role in influencing policy change favouring the grey population. With India’s poor track record of treating old people, this organization has done a commendable job in providing the emotional and material support to the elderly when they need it the most.

2. Barefoot college: This NGO with a one-of-a-kind name founded by Bunker Roy is open only to individuals without formal education. Barefoot College makes use of the concept of peer-to-peer learning to train ‘barefoot professionals’ like teachers, doctors, mechanics etc. and has achieved participant coverage of an astounding 3 million people till date.

3.Aravind Eyecare System: With the aim of eradicating preventable blindness, Aravind Eyecare has developed a unique ‘assembly-line’ method to ensure high productivity and an innovative non-profit model that subsidizes treatment for the poor by utilizing the higher fees paid by its wealthier clientele .

4. Smile foundation: It was formed in 2002 to promote the cause of education amongst underprivileged children and has popularized the Social return on Investment (SROI) model by enabling civic driven change.

5. Goonj: Founded with the vision of making clothing a matter of concern, Goonj initiatives have made optimum use of waste materials and turned them into resource. It has also been listed by Forbes as India’s most powerful rural entrepreneur organization.

6. Planet read: With an innovative method of using Bollywood to promote literacy, Planet Read introduced the method of ‘Same Language Subtitling’ (SLS) — a practice of subtitling television programs in the same language as the audio track and applied it to the popular Bollywood music videos to reach millions of people.

7. Give India: This unique venture acts as an online and offline donation platform for more than 200 Indian NGOs which have been scrutinized for their transparency and credibility.

8. Gram Vikas: Setup with the aim of using sanitation as a tool to empower communities, its famous MANTRA approach has eliminated 85 percent of water-borne diseases in the participating villages and boosted attendance in schools considerably.

9. Pratham: Founded in 1994 with the aim of providing education to the children of the slums of Mumbai, Pratham has grown considerably in geographic coverage and size to become the largest NGO to be providing education to the underprivileged.

10. Udaan: This welfare organization took flight in March 2008 and has been working to empower the lives of destitute children, women and senior citizens. What started off as an informal educational setup is now a full-fledged school running in accordance with SSC curriculum.

You must be to comment.
  1. Satyendra Chauhan

    Good efforts. This will help corporate also finding the partner for CSR activities.

  2. ARUNANDU ADHIKARY

    I want to join ngo now. Pls contac me-9093995007

  3. Balakrishna K.

    I am a retired Engineer and want to serve our country devoting some time by joining an NGO.In Karnataka which is the active NGO where I can be of use?

  4. gaurav chitoshiya

    my soul is singing and m passonable of singing

  5. Ganesh

    I want to explore it in villager area where it needs.my no. is 8409030997

  6. Francis Lemawu

    Thank you very much for accepting my subscription. I hope I am allowed to make request to represent your organization as an agent in the most peaceful but poor country in Africa called Ghana. I am passionate in helping people solve their health problems using alternative medicine or herbal preparations. To help me serve a lot of people I need support from a foreign NGO hence my request. Ghana is a third world country that is struggling to deal with extreme urban and rural poverty. As a result citizens are unable to afford quality health care leading to widespread preventable diseases and death. In case I am favoured my contact is +233543437295

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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