Seva Mandir was founded by Dr. M.S. Mehta in 1966 with a mission to make real the idea of a society consisting of free and equal citizens who are able to come together to solve the problems that affect them in their particular contexts.
Seva Mandir works with 360,000 people across 700 villages of southern Rajasthan.
Over the past decades, Seva Mandir has worked in partnership with these people on issues pertaining to governance, health, education, sustainable use of natural resources, women’s empowerment, youth development, child care and social enterprise to create tangible and transformative impact.
In 1967, Dr. Manibhai Desai, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi established BAIF Development Research Foundation (formerly registered as Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation) with an aim to promote sustainable livelihood in Rural India.
BAIF has evolved innovative models of micro-enterprises to ensure inclusive development through dairy husbandry, goat rearing, agri-horti-forestry and sustainable agricultural production for food security and poverty alleviation. BAIF today serves over 5 million small and marginal landless families spread over 1 lakh villages across 16 states. The increased value of the produce generated through BAIF’s activities contributes over Rs.5000 crores to the National GDP each year.
In 1970, when student volunteers with the Young Students’ Movement for Development came to Orissa to serve victims of a devastating cyclone, they didn’t know that transforming lives will become their way of life. Gram Vikas was founded in 1979 under the inspirational leadership of Joe Madiath.
Gram Vikas partners with rural communities to address their critical needs for safe drinking water, sanitation, health, education, livelihoods and alternate energy in a manner that is sustainable, socially inclusive, gender equitable and empowering. Gram Vikas is credited with impacting 400,000 individuals living in 1250 villages from Orissa. They have served communities and country alike by regenerating over 10,000 acres of wasteland, constructing over 54,000 Biogas plants, providing financial and technical support in rural social housing and through building toilet and sanitation units for over 75,000 families.
In India, they presently operate in Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Nagaland, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. They have also scaled up their operations internationally and are now running programmes in Gambia and Tanzania in Africa.
Established by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1984, the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme in India [AKRSP (I)] has reached out to over 500,000 beneficiaries in over 1100 villages in the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
AKSRP(I) works toward addressing prevalent issues in rural India. It operates to achieve food security, economic security, social equality regardless of gender, caste or tribe, upliftment of quality of life and improved governance.
AKRSP(I) has been functional in creating over 4,000 village organizations, planting over 12 million trees, installing nearly 14,000 biogas, solar or wind systems, building 10,000 roof rainwater harvesting structures, and making potable drinking water accessible to over 40,000 women. Its soil and water conservation measures, including the construction of over 1000 check dams and irrigation tanks, have improved over 40,000 hectares of land. One of its largest programmes is capacity building of rural youth in computer basics which has trained 25,000 youth in all three states.
In 1965 a young post graduate student, Sanjit “Bunker” Roy volunteered to spend the summer working with famine affected people in Palamu District Bihar, now Jharkhand. This experience changed him, and made fighting poverty and inequality his mission. He founded Barefoot College in 1972.
Barefoot College works for the upliftment of rural people in the areas of education, skill development, health, drinking water, women empowerment and electrification through solar power.
Due to the efforts of Barefoot College, 450,000 people have solar lights in their houses, 2,800,000 school children have water to drink, 14,000 barefoot teachers are working in government schools and $145,000 was earned by 389 Barefoot craft professionals.
With a mission to build people and institutions for developmental innovations, Development of Humane Action (DHAN) Foundation was founded on October 2, 1997. Its aim is not to serve the poor but to enable them. DHAN works towards reducing poverty through making the communities self-reliant. DHAN facilitates innovation and development of intellectual capabilities by bringing highly motivated, educated young women and men to the development sector.
DHAN Foundation runs various programmes for the development of rural sector that covers livelihood, water for irrigation, bridging urban-rural divide through Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Coastal Conservation and Livelihood Programme (Initiated to carry on relief work after 2004 tsunami), making rain fed farming viable and developing tourism for development.
Building women’s self-help groups and their federations and enabling them for community ownership and sustainability are key elements of the approach. So far, 40,618 primary groups at village/slum level covering 609,139 families have been promoted in 12 states of India and the groups have been networked into 209 federations. The community banking programme has enabled the poor women to generate Rs. 282 crores of own funds through savings products in SHGs and to leverage Rs.841 crores of loan funds from commercial banks for livelihood development.
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