Over the years, NGOs have advocated for many good causes but over time their work showcased an image of poverty, sadness, and pity. This representation of multiple problems in India invites commiseration from the global as well as local audiences. However, there are a few NGOs who are taking a novel approach to dealing with serious problems, instead of banking on poverty selling they work towards creating a positive narrative. By doing so they aim to not only eradicate the problem but also break the stigma associated with it, which is the primary reason for these problems to persist in society.
The following 4 NGOs are committed to breaking the stereotype and bringing a celebratory outlook to serious problems.
Bal Utsav is an education-based NGO who works towards the revitalization of government schools across southern India and has impacted over 8 lakh children. During the inception of Bal Utsav, founders decided to take a celebratory approach in problem-solving and were never involved in depicting an image of misery. In all their messaging since then, whether on their website, social media pages, brochure, banners showcased happy faces of children, and them enjoying the facilities in their schools and celebrating their childhood. Along with this positive outlook and their flagship programs like iShaala and Sampoornashaala, BalUtsav aims to not only provide children with quality education but also combat the underlying stigma associated to government schools in India.
Smile Foundation is an Indian social development organization which directly benefits over 15 lakh children and their families every year. The foundation works towards educating, empowering and cultivating better citizens. As the name signifies they also work around the narrative of bringing and spreading smiles. Their social media pages showcase the smiles of all the people they have impacted through their programs. The foundation works intensively through focused welfare projects in four major areas – child education for poor children, healthcare for families, skills training and livelihood for youth, and community engagement through women empowerment. In tandem to their efforts to uplift the citizens of India they also aim to uplift the overall notion around India through their positive outlook.
As part of the Mahindra group, project Nanhi Kali is a sponsorship program that has reached out to over 500,000 underprivileged girls across 14 states in India. From far-flung areas such as the hamlets of Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu to the rural outskirts of Banaras, from the tribal hills of Araku in Andhra Pradesh to the sub-plan tribal district of Udaipur, and from the crowded slums of Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, to the more remote but cooler locations of Darjeeling, Project Nanhi Kali is ensuring that girls complete 10 years of formal schooling. Along with their efforts to provide schooling for girl children , through their social media accounts and website, they take a positive narrative to combat the stigma around educating girls.
Sightsavers’ work in India has enabled thousands of people to lead lives of independence and dignity. They have been working with local partners to strengthen organisations and communities, and have supported the treatment of millions of people with eye disorders. The organization has educated, counselled, trained and rehabilitated people who are visually impaired or blind, and helped extend the reach of eye services to the least served areas of India. Most importantly they tell stories of people who have achieved success even with their disabilities. In addition to helping persons with disability they also use a positive approach to drive the notion of equality for all and the idea that no disability can make a human being less capable.