In the last two years, since the International Intelligence Bureau records were infamously leaked, more and more NGOs in India have lost out on foreign funding for being ‘anti-development’ and allegedly lacking transparency in operations. At least nine NGOs had their funding cancelled in 2015, and to date, many organisations that deserve to be recognised for their commendable work, are losing out on funding as well, the most recent being Navsarjan Trust, founded by Dalit rights activist Martin Macwan.
Even in 2017, we cannot deny that social inequality is a stark reality in our society, and the massive work, resources and manpower required to address this, cannot be done without civil society. There are several NGOs that deserve recognition, volunteership and donation, and lose out on it because of the general negative opinions surrounding civic society bodies in the country. Given the massive inequalities that they bridge, it’s high time the public recognises their contributions and gives them due credit for it.
Here are 7 NGOs in India doing a kick-ass job of bringing positive on-ground change and impacting diverse social groups:
Bringing light into the lives of children born to migrant workers, Mobile Crèches offers education, nutrition and healthcare to many of society’s most vulnerable members. It was born out of the ideology that all children deserve a fighting chance at building a future. What made a humble debut as a single crèche in Delhi, has since expanded to include units in slums of Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. This dedicated team of do-gooders has impacted the lives of more than a million children across India since its inception more than 40 years ago.
Mobile Crèches welcomes individual and group volunteers. Interested? Here’s where you can find out more.
In India, 50% girls drop out of primary schools and more than 70% drop out during their secondary education. That means, millions of girls have their wings clipped even before they can do something with their lives.To counter this, Project Nanhi Kali, managed jointly by the K.C. Mahindra Trust and Naandi Foundation, has has set up special Academic Support Centres across 10 states in India, where girls are given much-needed additional guidance in concepts of Math, Science and languages. Additionally, the project also supports girls by providing them with necessary material support to complete their education, and organises regular intervention progra`mmes to bring down dropout rates. Till date, Project Nanhi Kali has directly impacted the lives of over 100,000 girls in India!
Project Nanhi Kali welcomes support from individuals and corporates. Find out more, here.
India has the third-largest number of HIV/AIDS affected patients in the world, according to a UN report. Given the high rate of social stigma and ignorance surrounding sexual health in our society, Naz Foundation (India) Trust was initiated to empower and improve the lives of those diagnosed HIV positive, as well as spread awareness about STDs and reduce the number of cases.
Based out of New Delhi, Naz Foundation conducts a range of programmes to generate this awareness, specifically among India’s LGBTQ+ community and additionally offers home-based support to HIV+ patients. The NGO is also one of the organisations at the forefront of the struggles against Section 377 in India and strongly advocates for the rights of India’s queer community. In a country where gender and sexuality are taboo subjects, Naz India’s efforts are both absolutely essential, as well as commendable.
You too can help with Naz India’s initiatives. Know more, here.
To date, India has a sizeable chunk of population that is forced into the inhuman practice of manual scavenging. These numbers are underreported and often disputed, and disturbingly, manual scavenging happens even in big government institutions such as the Indian Railways. The Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA) is a nationwide movement that aims to completely eradicate this caste-based occupation, and rallies for the rehabilitation of scavengers towards dignified livelihoods. Initiated in 1995, the SKA has so far succeeded in ridding over 139 districts of India of the practice of manual scavenging, as of 2009. In a society that is still not free from the clutches of the Brahmanical caste system, SKA’s contributions are the need of the hour.
You too, can be a part of the movement to eradicate India’s national shame of manual scavenging. Find out how, here.
There are over 6 lakh registered sex workers in India. Historically, the profession has been looked down upon, and to date, there is a lot of social stigma attached to it. Because of lack of regulation, sex workers in India are subject to unfair working conditions, violence and exploitation. The Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC) is an NGO based in Kolkata that advocates for the human and professional rights of sex workers, and rallies for their dignity and safety. Representing over 65,000 sex workers, the DMSC has its hand in a range of initiatives including health and education, to vocational training and anti-trafficking. The NGO is one of the frontrunner organisations leading the fight for regulation in India’s sizeable sex worker community.
You can do your bit to speak up for the rights of sex workers in India, too. Know more, here.
The Indian LGBTQ+ community has always had to live in the shadows because of social stigma and ostracism. However, since Section 377 was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 2013, the situation has become even graver for anyone whose sexuality and sexual orientation deviate from the so-called “norm”. Udaan Trust is based out of Maharashtra and focuses on the importance of sexual health among homosexual and trans communities in India. Another area of focus for the and importance of awareness about alternative sexualities, which is paramount in the current system of complete silencing around these topics. This NGO provides a range of support services to improve the state of India’s sexual health and awareness by organising condom distributions, counselling and sex education programmes. In a system that augments the spread of sexual and mental health disorders through the silencing of identities, Udaan Trust’s initiatives are paramount in securing the future of India’s queer community.
At present, India has an 80 million-strong population of senior citizens, a number that is expected to grow to 300 million by 2050. Ageing in India is not easy, with many of India’s elderly destitute and unable to care for themselves. Further, there is a lot of stigma attached with the idea of old-age homes and other caregiving facilities, making it doubly hard for individuals to age in a happy, healthy manner.
Agewell Foundation India works towards the empowerment and betterment of this strata of our society and build a future where ageing is happier, healthier and safer process, free of incorrect perceptions, violence and suffering. The foundation offers healthcare and support, medical equipment distribution, employment exchange, and has a dedicated helpline for the elderly to contact during emergencies. Assisting over 25,000 senior citizens of the country on a daily basis, Agewell Foundation India has to its credit that it is one of the few foundations enjoying special consultative status with the United Nations.
You too, can help secure and improve the lives of thousands of India’s elderly citizens. Here’s where you can find out how.
This is a small list of the 31 lakh NGOs spread out across the length and breadth of our country, tackling various social issues, one at a time. In a community of such diversity where 1% of the population holds 58% of the entire country’s wealth, it is important to acknowledge the role and significance of civic society in promoting equality and justice. Moreover, the sheer number of NGOs in our society trigger the one aspect of our own personalities that are most required to balance the scales: compassion. So, the next time you consider an internship, donation or volunteering, why not consider an NGO?