Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”
The feeling of being able to help another soul makes us feel priceless. Every summer, in the midst of all the excitement and fun, many of us join voluntary organisations or non-governmental organisations (NGO) to take a step towards a better future. To help you make up your mind for volunteering, we have created a list of five best NGOs in India where you can volunteer to do some amazing work and create a profound impact on our society:
Founded in 2002, Smile Foundation is working as a catalyst to facilitate sustainable change in the lives of underprivileged children, youth and women. This New Delhi-based NGO strives to create a promising future for its members and aims to impart universal education which can turn children into productive assets, thereby laying the foundation for nation building.
Smile Foundation has been able to create a niche for itself through its two working models – social venture philanthropy and outreach. While the former model is based on the business concept of venture capital, the latter is about how the organisation directly implements development projects for underprivileged communities in villages and urban slums.
The organisation is directly benefitting around 400,000 children and their families every year. It has 158 welfare projects on education, healthcare, livelihood and women empowerment going in 700 remote villages and slums across 25 states in India. Being a believer of the principle of ‘Civic Driven Change’, Smile Foundation sensitises the civil society to become partners in its mission.
Udayan Care is an NGO that is working towards regenerating the lives of disadvantaged children and women. Founded in 1994 by Dr Kiran Modi in Delhi, the NGO is committed to their aim of sustainable social development through various programs like Udayan Ghars, Udayan Shalini Fellowship, Outreach programme and Sugam Vedashram Project.
India is home to 31 million orphans with only 75,000 orphanage shelters and an adoption rate as low as 0.18%. To change this situation, Udayan Ghars were set up to nurture abandoned children, ensuring them opportunities to develop as capable individuals. Over the last 22 years, Udayan Care has spread its work among disadvantaged groups by establishing family homes, helping girls’ education, providing vocational training etc. To date, Udayan Care has nurtured around 15,000 young minds. The organisation wants to create a human chain of active citizenship for child rights by spreading awareness on these issues.
Nearly 100 million senior citizens in India and not a single place where they can feel loved in the last phase of their lives. This is the thought that encouraged Jackson Cole and Samson Daniel to Founded HelpAge India way back in 1978. Today, it is a leading charity platform in India working for disadvantaged elderly and has become the representative voice for India’s elderly. Dedicated to improving the status of India’s senior citizens, it works in 23 states providing medical services, poverty alleviation and income generation schemes in urban and rural India.
Headquartered in Delhi, HelpAge India has currently affiliations with 51 member countries. It envisions a society where the elderly have the right to an active, healthy and dignified life. They are integrating their programmes and services, and consciously moving from welfare towards development and long term sustainability for seniors. They are working closely with senior citizen associations and encouraging seniors to speak up for their rights. Recently, the NGO has launched HelpAge SOS app, a one-click emergency service for senior citizens who suffer any kind of abuse.
Founded in 1999 by Anshu Gupta, GOONJ is the first organisation to highlight clothing as a basic but unaddressed need. GOONJ uses underutilized cloth and other old materials as a powerful tool for social change, as a huge resource for rural/slum development and as a valuable asset for income generation. Its work is also setting a precedent in terms of preventing massive material wastage from becoming an environmental disaster.
Based in Delhi, GOONJ has built up a network in the remote parts of 21 Indian states. The network has grown to over 250 partner groups like Ashoka Fellows, Indian Army veterans, social activists, village panchayats and other grassroots organizations. Its initiatives such as ‘Rahat Floods’ provided relief funds to the flood victims of Bihar, Assam and West Bengal, while the ‘Ek Jodi Kapda’ project in 2010 donated clothes.
Sounds Of Silence
Founded in 2012 by Sumit Gandhi in Mumbai, Sounds of Silence is an NGO with just one aim: brighten the future of hearing-impaired students. It is an initiative straight from the heart of a chosen few who wish to fill the lives of a million hearing-impaired children across cities, borders and nations with the beauty of expression and the art of communication. Their vision is to ensure deafness with dignity, and a society where deaf people have equal opportunities to participate in all walks of life.
With its working models, SOS 1.0-Volunteering at Schools and SOS 2.0-BPO for Hearing-Impaired, Sounds of Silence has done a remarkable job. The organisation envisions a future where deafness is no more a ‘disability’. So far, it has been incorporated into the curriculum of 19 schools across 4 cities and has empowered 550+ hearing impaired individuals. Sounds of Silence intends to reach 5,000 hearing-impaired children to provide them with mobiles, train them in English and help them get white collar jobs.