NGOs Working for Underprivileged

NGOs Working for Underprivileged

Meaning of Non-Governmental Organization

NGO as an association includes groups and institutions with primary humanitarian and cooperative objectives rather than commercial objectives completely or widely independent from Government. NGOs are private agencies that can support development at local, national and international levels by raising awareness, influencing policies, working on the ground, etc. [1]


They work for the betterment and upliftment of socio-economically and politically weaker sections of the community to improve their status in society so they can have equal rights and opportunities. They are managed by the resources, funds and other kinds of desirable support from the Government, funding agencies, supporting communities, businesses and individuals. [1]

Poverty in India

Poverty is the state of not having enough material possessions or income for a person’s basic needs. Poverty may include social, economic, and political elements. Absolute poverty is the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. [2]

India is the second-most populous country in the world with over 1.38 billion people [3] and is the seventh-largest country in the world with an area of 3,287,000 km². [4] It is the fifth-largest economy in the world. [5] But unfortunately, only a small percentage of people have benefited from this mega economic and regional status – as the majority of Indians still continue to live in abject poverty.

According to the revised methodology of the World Bank (2014), the world had 872.3 million people below the new poverty line, of which 179.6 million lived in India. With 17.5% of the total world’s population, India had a 20.6% share of the world’s poorest in 2013.[6]

Extreme poverty is a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. [7]  As of 2022, the International Poverty Line is $3.20 per day in PPP for lower-middle-income countries and $5.50 per day in PPP for upper-middle-income countries.[8] Currently, the number of Indians living in extreme poverty is about 83 million. [8] 

This is a big number and can’t be ignored at any cost. Though several Government of India schemes have been launched to curb poverty yet they aren’t enough. Here comes the crucial role of NGOs in the upliftment of the underprivileged.

NGOs in India


There are about 33 lakh NGOs and voluntary organizations in 26 Indian states, as per a CBI report filed in court in 2016. [10] This is more than double the number of schools in the country, 250 times the number of government hospitals, one NGO for 400 people as against one policeman for 709 people. Uttar Pradesh tops the list with more than 5.48 lakh NGOs, followed by Maharashtra which has 5.18 lakh NGOs. Kerala comes third with 3.7 lakh NGOs, followed by West Bengal with 2.34 lakh NGOs. Of the 82,250 NGOs in the Union Territories, Delhi alone has more than 76,000 NGOs. [11] These NGOs work for various causes like gender equality, poverty elimination, education, human rights, etc.  Out of these there are tens of thousands of NGOs working for the underprivileged in various ways.  

Some Authentic NGOs Working for the Underprivileged

1. Smile Foundation: Its mission is to empower underprivileged children, youth and women. It has adopted a lifecycle approach with intensive programmes focused on family health, livelihood and community engagement through women empowerment, which addresses the needs of less privileged children, their families and the larger community. [12]

2. Care India: Its mission is to save lives, enable social protection and defeat poverty. It builds the capacity of communities to ensure empowerment for marginalized women and girls. Its sustainable and holistic interventions in health, livelihood, education and disaster relief & resilience, provide innovative solutions to deep-rooted development problems. [13]

3. Sammaan Foundation: It is working on different projects related to slum children’s education, healthcare, and women’s empowerment across India. It organizes many welfare camps on a regular basis. These camps include eye check-up camps, medical awareness camps, environmental awareness camps, etc. [14]

4. Apnalaya: It works with the urban poor – enabling access to basic services, healthcare, education and livelihoods; empowering them to help themselves and ensuring provision of civic entitlements through advocacy with the government. [15]

5. Uday Foundation: It accepts donations to support poor people with food, hygiene kits, educational kits, blankets, clothes, disaster relief material, etc. It has worked significantly for the betterment of the poor. [16]

6. Hand In Hand India: It’s an international NGO based in India. Its vision is alleviation of poverty with a focus on access to education, affordable healthcare, skill development, entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and clean environment. In alignment with the United Nations multi-deprivation index, its projects are holistic, covering all facets of development. [17]

7. Krsh Welfare Foundation: It is a one of its kind NGO that aims to provide holistic wellbeing services to the underprivileged by focusing on its mental and physical health. It has launched several initiatives to uplift the poor like the “Adopt a Village” campaign where it provides basic amenities like food and medicines and provides expert mental health guidance for free. [18]

8. Nitya Foundation: It focuses on elimination of poverty through child development, women empowerment, skill development, education, health programs, elderly care, rural development programs etc. It also gives importance to protection of the environment. [19]

9.    Development Consortium: It is dedicated to working with young people and vulnerable communities across India – empowering them to overcome health, education and rights, abuse & injustice issues. It supports the implementation of global development programs in India. [20]


10.  Child Rights and You: Its mission is to enable people to take responsibility for the situation of the deprived Indian child and so motivate them to seek resolution through individual and collective action thereby enabling children to realize their full potential. It works extensively for underprivileged children. [21]

Concluding Remarks

Even after 75 years of independence, India is still suffering from the disease of poverty. But fortunately, there are some NGOs working tirelessly to improve the situation and it won’t be wrong to say that they have made a significant impact in poverty reduction. As responsible citizens, people should help and support bonafide not-for-profit organizations.