Throughout my six weeks in India, I had the privilege to visit some wonderful NGOs making a meaningful impact in their local and wider communities. Each NGO we visited was a unique and inspiring experience, and these are the top 3 that stood out for me.
Sheroes is an NGO that supports survivors of acid attacks. Unfortunately, acid attacks are still happening in India (and around the world), often committed by family members, and have long-lasting medical, psychological, and social impacts. We had the privilege of visiting the cafe in Agra, which is a cafe fully run by acid attack survivors, and they serve delicious meals and even have a little store where you can buy items made by some of the women in the Sheroes community! Sheroes offers employment, a sense of community, and above all, HOPE, for survivors. Definitely worth a visit next time you are in Agra (and they also have opened a second cafe in Lucknow).
2. Jaipur Foot
Jaipur Foot is an NGO that supports anyone who has lost a limb by getting a free prosthetic one. Anyone is welcome to come to the clinic in Jaipur without needing an appointment and are provided with the limbs, aids and appliances (e.g. wheelchairs, hand-paddled tricycles, crutches) without any cost to the patient. The Jaipur Foot also uses a special design technology when creating their limbs to allow people to carry out everyday activities suitable to the Indian lifestyle (e.g. walking on uneven footpaths, playing cricket, running/jumping, sitting cross-legged, and working in wet, muddy terrains). It has also been designed to be used with or without shoes, which is important given the significance of visiting temples in Indian culture. In 2009 the Standford-Jaipur knee joint was acknowledged by Time Magazine as one of the best 50 inventions of the world. It was inspiring getting to see the passion all the doctors and staff had for the organisation and the life-changing impact their work makes on their patients.
3. Akshaya Patra
Akshaya Patra is an NGO committed to ensuring all children have access to a nutritious, tasty meal through their Mid-Day Meal scheme, where they deliver meals to over 2 million children from 22,367 schools across 15 states. All meals are prepared fresh, with workers starting in the early hours of the morning to ensure all the food is prepared, packaged, and ready for delivery at lunchtime. I had the opportunity to visit one of the Akshaya Patra kitchens and see how much love and effort went into preparing all those meals, enabling children to have a brighter future through food.