A Million Missions
The Non Profit Sector in India
This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.
After the assassination of Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi on 30 January 1948, there was a major thrust in favour of voluntary action in India. Six weeks later a few men and women met at Sewagram near Wardha in Maharashtra. They were seeking answers to various questions, including the role that civil society should play in addressing the concerns of the country’s underprivileged and marginalised sections. Thus was born the Sarva Seva Sangh, commonly known as Sarvodaya. Among those present that day were the social reformer and socialist leader, (Lok Nayak) Jayaprakash (JP) Narayan who inspired the formation of the next generation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in India. Since then, the voluntary movement in the country has grown impressively.
From Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and JP to ‘waterman’ Rajendra Singh, all have run NGOs that have changed the way democracy functions and helped ordinary individuals become aware of their fundamental rights and helped them fight to achieve these. Many of the million-plus NGOs in India work among the poorest and marginalised sections of society inspiring hope for a better life and a “new India”. Religious philanthropy has historically played an important role in strengthening the many-faceted fabric of giving in India which is growing stronger by the day. Today’s non-profit sector has influenced the rights-based paradigm of social welfare and economic development thereby furthering grassroots action and democratic foundations. Today NGOs in India are involved in diverse areas of activity, from primary education and basic health to caring for the elderly.
This book, for the first time, takes a close look at the working of the country’s voluntary sector and its various aspects. It has been written by an individual who has over four decades of experience working in, and leading, NGOs. The book is an invaluable resource for all those who are interested in this important sector, be they representatives of the corporate sector or donor agencies, government officials or civil society activists.
About the author
Mathew Cherian is Chief Executive, HelpAge India, a leading advocacy and caregiver non-profit for the elderly. He is based out of New Delhi, India, and has been associated with many non-profit groups across India and the world. He is an engineering graduate from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani. He is among India’s first rural managers from the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) in Gujarat. He has been Director, Oxfam, in India and Executive Director, Charities Aid Foundation. His most recent initiative was in the establishment of Credibility Alliance, which works towards establishing accountability and transparency in civil society.
He is currently on the boards of HelpAge International, Guidestar International, Care International and Sightsavers, all well-known non-profit organisations. He is member of the National Council of Senior Citizens and the National Foundation for Communal Harmony. He is currently the Independent Commissioner for Geriatric Health with the government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Amita Joseph is his partner; they have two daughters Aparajita and Arundati who helped greatly in writing this book.