Our work in the Vulnerable Groups focus area is driven by our mission to facilitate a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society. We aim to help people seek justice and gain access to basic services, rights and support, thereby reducing marginalisation and vulnerability. Our focus here is on poor people or communities facing prejudice, social and economic deprivation, or everyday discrimination and exclusion.
Our Vulnerable Groups portfolio is our most diverse focus area in terms of size and scope. Under this focus area we support partners who strive to make a perceptible difference in the lives of the vulnerable, so they can live with dignity in their community.
We work in the following thematic areas under the focus area - Vulnerable Groups:
There are an estimated 113 million adolescent girls, or girls in the 10-19 age group, in India. Of these, 63. 5% are school dropouts, 43% married before age 18 and 20% before age 15. Such girls are also at risk of being anaemic or even, dying in childbirth. We support work that creates safe spaces (through counselling, peer interaction) for adolescent girls, imparts life skills, encourages girls to stay in school and teaches them about reproductive rights. Other initiatives we back include strengthening of existing Government policies for empowerment of adolescent girls, gender sensitisation involving boys and men, setting up balika panchayats and preventing trafficking.
There are 1.77 million (17.7 lakh) homeless in India, as per Census 2011, including people who beg on the streets, and those who have been abandoned by their families. Even within the homeless, there are those who are more vulnerable--for instance, women, the infirm, the old and disabled, persons with special needs, those with substance abuse issues, and groups with no shelter. We support organisations that inculcate a culture of care and support, work towards community sensitisationand set up shelters with quality medical and psychological aid.
An estimated 98 million of 120 million land households in the country are small and marginal (men and women) farmers cultivating land of upto five acres in size. They are vital for sustainable agriculture and the country’s continuing food security. Yet, these men and women get very little returns for their crops, are often laden with crippling debt, and resort to distress migration and are at risk of suicide. We support work that makes farmers aware of rights--to community-owned lands, forests/natural resources and, existing Government schemes and subsidies. We also support organisations that work to nurture farmer learning networks, enable self-help groups, share traditional knowledge and strengthen men and women farmer collectives or networks.
Estimates of the size of India’s disabled population vary from 2.2% to 8%. Over 70% live in rural areas. we know that disability is often a cause and consequence of poverty. We firmly believe that persons with disabilities should get the opportunity to fulfill their potential and live with dignity in their community. Our endeavour is to help bring down the barriers that prevent their full and effective participation in society as equals. Therefore, we support organisations that promote early interventions, inclusive education, vocational training and better livelihood opportunities. We also back organisations that advocate participatory policies, provide support services for families and which enable people with disabilities to realise their rights and entitlements.
India has an estimated 18 million street children--including runaways, those living on the streets, pavements, in Government Homes, or on railway platforms. They are children in need of care and protection, as per the Juvenile Justice Act. Of these, 80-90% are boys. Most are at risk of being abused, trafficked, or of being drawn into petty crime. We back programmes that aim to reach out and rehabilitate greater numbers of such children, build capacity among organisations that work with street children, or do advocacy for child care/protection, and sensitise stakeholders like the police, civil society organisations, and the larger public.
The National Crime Records Bureau reports that every six hours, a young married woman is found beaten to death, burnt or driven to suicide in India. (The National Commission for Women states that between 50 and 70% of married women face some form of domestic violence.) We support work that provides psychological, legal and medical support, and creates safe spaces for survivors of domestic violence (and their children). The aim is to enable and empower survivors, their families, other men and community gatekeepers to break “the culture of silence” surrounding domestic violence.