10 NGOs which have revolutionised Healthcare in India

Doctors treating patients with NGO support
Doctors treating patients with NGO support

While it is difficult to know the exact number of NGOs in India, an exercise by the Indian Government found that at least 31 lakh NGOs are operational in our highly populated land of unity in diversity. We have a plethora of volunteers working to the effect of social causes such as education, animal rights, disaster relief and so on. This goes to show that social service and giving back to the community, quite in-built values in our culture, are feathers in our cap. Here, we cover the success stories of 10 NGOs in India that are putting forth outstanding work in the healthcare sector to empower people.

1. HelpAge India

A leading charity working for the disadvantaged elderly of India, HelpAge India has been active for over four decades. It has one of the largest mobile healthcare programs across India, providing free healthcare services to destitute elders.

Cataract surgeries are one of the cornerstones of this organisation. Cataract is a leading cause of blindness in India. HelpAge conducts more than 45,000 eye surgeries for the blind elderly across 21 states. This has helped over 9 lakh elders not only in restoration of eyesight but also going back to work as independent individuals.

HelpAge India also works towards providing palliative care to end-stage cancer patients. Pairing with several credible and competent hospitals, the organisation helps the poor elderly who cannot afford expensive medication for cancer.

HelpAge India has received several awards for his commendable contribution to society. It holds the Chairman’s Challenge Award, Times Social Impact Award and NGO Leadership & Excellence Award among several others.

2. CRY: Child Rights and You

CRY(Child Rights and You) was started by Rippan Kapur in 1979 with six of his friends and fifty rupees at his mother’s dining table. They had a dream of witnessing a day when every single Indian child would enjoy his/her rights such as survival, protection and development. Rippan, a young airline purser, hated seeing children work as servants. As a part of his school’s social service club, he helped street children with reading and writing. His motto was ‘What I can do, I must do.’ Today, CRY is chosen among the top 100 non-profits making a difference in the world.

CRY works towards several causes for children, one of them being malnutrition. It introduced kitchen gardens in anganwadis in Chhattisgarh to provide fresh and healthy food to children. This not only came as a boon to the underprivileged children but also accelerated the anganwadi workers in the same direction. This noble initiative of CRY has helped to see a decrease in the number of malnourished children by about 9-10%.

3. Lepra Society

As the name suggests, Lepra Society works to empower people affected with leprosy. It also fosters the healthcare of victims of lymphatic filariasis.

During the British colonial rule back in 1925, the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association (BELRA) started to bring leprosy to the attention of Indian citizens. Established in 1988 at Hyderabad, Lepra Society brought into focus the Indian Government’s National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP). Today it operates across myriad states including Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

Lepra Society had a systematic approach to dealing with the chronic disease. Its prime objective was to first identify its patients within an area via mass, contact and school surveys and then treats them with multi-drug therapy (MDT).

Lepra Society’s success encouraged them to extend a helping hand to victims of other maladies as well. Today they also work towards helping patients of malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. They also help the Indian government in the National Anti-Malaria Programme (NAMP) and have extensive contribution to eye care and prevention of needless blindness.

4. Smile Foundation

Inspired by the philosophy of Peter Senge, the founder of ‘Society for Organisational Learning’, a group of young corporate professionals founded Smile Foundation in 2002. They began working from scratch to bring about a difference in the lives of underprivileged families and communities. Since urban slum dwellers lack the education to be aware of diseases and healthcare, they do not approach hospitals for checkups out of risking a day’s wages. Smile has a two-fold approach to tackle this problem. They first bring quality healthcare services within easy access of the needy. The second step is to promote healthcare awareness and encourage the poor to seek help.

Smile has a reach of 6 lakh children and families across 950 villages and slums of India. It has 200 projects on social causes like healthcare across 25 states of India.

5. Rural Health Care Foundation

Dentist treating a poor patient at RHCF Health Camp
Dentist treating a poor patient at RHCF Health Camp

Rural Health Care Foundation is an organisation founded by the late Arun Nevatia. It strives to provide low cost primary healthcare to the lowest strata of the socio-economic pyramid and is doing well in achieving its goals.

RHCF has a well laid out structure. Each clinic has four departments, namely, General Medicine, Optometry, Homeopathy and Dentistry. The patients are offered diagnosis and medicine supply for a week. The centre also arranges for cataract surgeries and cleft lip surgeries. The doctors are given free food and accommodation. Spectacles, wheel chairs, crutches and blankets are also distributed.

Rural Health Care Foundation been given a Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC at the United Nations. Harvard Business School has also published a case study on the Rural Health Care Foundation.

6. Goonj

Goonj address the basic but neglected issues of the poor and values the traditional wisdom of the local people. It enables them to participate in Goonj’s solutions and gives out urban material as reward.

Goonj has several campaigns, one of them being ‘Share a Bite to your Heart’s Delight.’ It is a venture to encourage people to contribute daily essentials like rice, pulses and so on to the less fortunate. This is an innovative step towards solving the problem of food shortage and thus nutrition among the poor. Goonj has also taken considerable effort towards detaching the stigma associated with menstruation. It has helped college girls speak more boldly and openly about the issue and also involved many Rajasthani women in their menstrual hygiene initiative.

Functional for over two decades now, Goonj has won both national and international awards. The founder, Anshu Gupta, received the Ramon Magsaysay award for transforming giving as a developmental approach. Goonj has also won an ‘NGO of the Year’ award in a nationwide search & selection by Resource Alliance.

7. Udaan Welfare Foundation

Udaan Welfare Foundation works towards quality healthcare, keeping in mind a positive impact on the environment. It also works towards other causes that go hand-in-hand with healthcare, such as nutrition, taking sincere effort to achieve its ideals.

Several programs have been organised. Udaan carried out a dental health check in the Harikishan English Public School and taught 250 students the importance of the correct brushing techniques and oral care. They have also regularly provided medicines for Anugraha Children’s Home and Anugraha Vidya Mandir, Ambernath since 2008. Udaan also supplies monthly rations for daily breakfast for the 50 to 60 resident children there.

Udaan Welfare Foundation has worked successfully for six years in the regions of Mumbai and Thane. It continues to work towards the betterment and upliftment of the needy.

8. Deepalaya

Underpriviliged children enjoying a good meal at Deepalaya
Underpriviliged children enjoying a good meal at Deepalaya

The largest NGO in the national capital state of Delhi, Deepalaya has been functional for over three decades. It promotes self-reliance, with prime attention to women and children. It also works towards development of the urban and rural poor population.

Deepalaya runs the Community Health programme, a project working towards spreading awareness of preventive and promotive health. It reaches out to the poor and underprivileged through projects like the Chameli Dewan Memorial Rural Health & Mobile Clinic in Gusbethi. This comprises a mobile van that goes from village to village, fostering basic treatments and check-ups to almost 80,000 people in Mewat.

Deepalaya also is an NGO that has gained a lot of recognition for its work. It received the Indo American Corporate Excellence Award as the Best NGO for 2012. It also holds the NGO Transparency award by Guidestar India and many others.

9. Uday Foundation

This organisation has a unique story behind its foundation. Tulika and Rahul Verma had their second baby, Arjunuday, in 2006. He was born with multiple congenital defects and after nine surgeries, he was restored to being a normal boy his age but with the need of an artificial mechanism for his bowel movements. This led to Rahul Verma’s decision of establishing Uday Foundation, a New Delhi-based NGO, supporting children suffering from congenital disorders and other syndromes.

Uday Foundation also researches new technologies in the healthcare sector. They have projects for common people and children. Majority of patients admitted to government hospitals come from underprivileged homes of nearby states. Their families have to often sacrifice other amenities like food to save money for medical treatment. Uday Foundation serves wholesome food to such needy people for free. It has several programs for raising donations for blankets, food and so on.

Uday Foundation has received considerable media coverage for its activity during diastaer relief operations and countless people have thanked the foundation on social media for its aid.

10. Sounds of Silence

Sounds of Silence is one of the best NGO’s in Mumbai and Delhi for the hearing-impaired. It started off as a social internship program by the founder, Mr Sumit Singh Gandhi. He met a deaf and mute person at the NGO and was unable to communicate with him. This led to hour long conversations of exchanging handwritten text. As a pilot project, ten children in Punjab were taught to communicate via SMS. Its success continues to this day when the children can send 100 SMS everyday with a 25% increase in IQ.

‘BitGiving’ is an idea which utilises donated cellphones and money to fund education for the deaf children. SOS’s motto is ‘Deafness with Dignity and Equality’. Their mission is to achieve equal access for deaf people to all departments of life.

Sounds of Silence has received prestigious awards such as the World Education Summit Award and Social Entrepreneurship Award. SOS is the first NGO of its kind using technology to empower the hearing-impaired.

All of these NGO’s have and continue to scale pinnacles in their respective work. It’s overwhelming to see the change that NGO’s are bringing about in the lives of people in our country. Feeling inspired to support these great non-profits? Explore here-www.giveindia.org

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About Samruddhi Pataskar

I am a student at IIT Kharagpur. My greatest passion is writing. I am an avid reader. Novels give me the happiness that we experience perhaps only in childhood. My favourite places are the gym and the basketball court. I am a trained Bharatanatyam dancer as well and find elocution a lot of fun.
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