A female teacher speaks passionately at the front of a room full of people sitting down listening to her
VSO/Gitika Saksena

India

We worked in India for over 30 years, strengthening inclusive education systems and supporting people to develop sustainable and resilient livelihoods.

We have now scaled back our operations in this country.

12,918

We reached 12,918 children through our World of Difference programme.

6,000

We supported 6,000 people with disabilities to gain local employment.

5,000

Our Kisan Vikas initiative trained 5,000 marginalised farmers in efficient agricultural practices.

Inclusive education

Girls sit on the floor of their classroom and raise their hands; at the front, a young female teacher stands by the blackboard
VSO

We've worked with corporate partners to improve educational opportunities for thousands of Indian children.

Our education projects were designed and delivered in conjunction with our private sector partners. Together, we used novel technology and innovative approaches to address some of the challenges which can prevent children reaching their full potential – including resource scarcity, large classroom sizes and gaps in teachers’ skills. National and community volunteers supported in-service teachers through coaching and training, reaching 450 teachers across 300 government schools in the Jharkhand, Delhi and Bundi districts.

We saw huge successes in improving children’s reading: in partnership with Vodafone, we reached 12,918 children and reduced illiteracy levels amongst target groups from 51% to just 5%; while our SMS Story project, which provided teachers with innovative teaching aids sent by daily text message, resulted in schools reporting literacy levels of 63% – compared to 42% in non-participating schools.

Resilient livelihoods

A group of women sit in a loose circle on the ground outside as a VSO volunteer sits and speaks with them
VSO/Anubhav Das

We worked to support women to develop the skills and confidence they need to participate in the formal economy.

Our livelihoods programmes focused on supporting some of India’s most vulnerable and marginalised populations – including women, young people and those living with disabilities – to improve their access to secure and sustainable sources of food and income.

Working with our private sector partners, we provided expert-led training so people can develop the skills and confidence they need to gain meaningful employment. In partnership with Bharti Infratel and Randstad, we supported 3,000 slum-dwelling women into work; and in partnership with IBM and the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled we supported 6,000 people with disabilities to gain local employment.

In a country where two-thirds of the population depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, we worked to boost the agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers, supporting people to grow more in the context of rising food insecurity and increasing environmental uncertainty. We trained 27 climate-smart agri-professionals, who supported rural farmers in Madhya Pradesh to safeguard themselves against the effects of climate change. Our Kisan Vikas initiative trained 5,000 marginalised farmers in efficient agricultural practices, enabling them to increase yields at a lower cost.

Find out more about our work in:

16-year-old Nirmala smiles with her friend, who is carrying a pile of schoolbooks.

Education system strengthening

Developing inclusive education systems that leave no child behind.

A student watches intently as her instructor demonstrates machinery in a welding and metal workshop

Employment and entrepreneurship

Ensuring that everyone has access to decent employment and market opportunities.