India | ActionAid UK


Vasipalli Narsaiamma received help from ActionAid through a women's collective after her house was destroyed in Hud Hud cyclone in 2014, Andhra Pradesh, India

India is the largest democracy in the world,with a population of over 1.2 billion.

Although India's economy has expanded rapidly in recent years, it still has the largest concentration of poor people in the world. Almost half of all children in India are underweight.

India was the first ActionAid country programme. We established it in 1972 and it now helps over one million people.

ActionAid's work in India

Through a network of over 300 local organisations and community groups we work to improve the status of poor and marginalised people – mainly Dalits ('untouchables' in the Indian caste system), tribal people, women, children, homeless and disabled people.

For example, we recently supported 27,000 Dalit women to apply for their own land. And just last year, the bonded labour campaign resulted in the government rescuing 600 bonded labourers (more commonly referred to as 'slaves').

More than half of all Indian children drop out of school before the age of 14 and the majority are female.

We work to raise awareness about the rights of children through Bal Panchayats (Children’s Parliaments) and support children to enrol in formal and non-formal education to fit in around their duties.




Chinama, 26 is a member of a co-operative women’s group supported by ActionAid. The groupt built 5 large ponds surrounding the village to supply water for the families, cattle and agriculture.

Photo: Richard Carter

Violence against women in India

ActionAid works in India to bring an end to violence against women and girls.

In 2012, 724 cases of domestic violence were addressed by the women’s groups that ActionAid works with. Some 1,322 women were trained on property rights and rights as workers. And more than 700 women’s collectives were formed to address social and economic issues faced by women.

Following the brutal rape and murder of Jyoti Singh on a bus in Delhi in December 2012, ActionAid called on the Indian Government to establish a 24-hour national helplines specifically for rape survivors, training for police - and stricter enforcement of sexual assault laws.

In March 2014, ActionAid teamed up with the play Nirbhaya, which tackles the issues of violence against women through the personal testimonies of its actors.

Showing at London's Southbank Centre as part of the Women of the World festival, ActionAid asked people to break the silence on violence against women and girls.

Theatre-goers 'raised their hands' by writing their name, city and a message on a postcard provided. The messages were added to the installation and will then travel across the world with the play, as part of a global voice speaking out to end sexual violence.

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Photos: Florian Lang/Actionaid, Richard Carter/ActionAid