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Hand in Hand India Co-founders Dr. Percy Barnevik and Dr. Kalpana Sankar interacting with Self Help Group women and children in 2004

Our story

We began our work in the year 2002, in Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, often called the silk city of India. Behind the looms, we found nimble fingers of children working tirelessly to produce intricate weaves. Children traditionally are a cheap source of labour. Families that had no permanent income sent their children to work as bonded labourers in the weaving industry.

In the early days, we ran evening schools for these children. Our initial focus was on bringing them out of the labour force. To keep the children in school, we extended our vision to include the family – addressing issues of community health, skills development and eventually, job creation. Today, we are a pan-Indian NGO rewriting the story of rural India by alleviating poverty and creating jobs. Our journey has traversed 18 States and seven countries.


Alleviation of poverty with a focus on access to education, affordable healthcare, skill development, entrepreneurship, financial inclusion and clean environment


Working hand in hand with poor women, children and communities to provide them with dignity, hope and choice for sustainable development

Our goal

To create 10 million jobs by 2025

Currently at 6.3 Million jobs

What makes us different

As an international NGO based in India, our scale, professionalism, quality and commitment is what sets us apart. These factors have enabled us to bring about change right from grassroots-level implementation to policy-level advocacy. We distinguish ourselves from NGOs working in various states of India, when it comes to project implementation, sustainability, global presence and good governance.

Holistic Approach

In alignment with the United Nations multi-deprivation index, our projects are holistic, covering all facets of development, including raising the standard of living in villages with respect to education, income, women empowerment, democracy, health and the environment.


Our focus on productivity and quality sets us apart. We have clear qualitative and quantitative parameters to measure our impact. Our operational structure ensures transparency and accountability, making us a popular NGO in India and abroad. An eminent Board of Trustees, a professional senior management team and a passionate set of field employees ensure that our quality is unmatched.

Global Expansion

We are the only International NGO based in India to have its model replicated globally – our blueprint has been used in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Brazil, South Africa, Brazil and Sri Lanka. An Indian grassroots organization reaching out to grassroots organizations in Asia, Africa and Latin America is quite unique.


To strengthen our grassroots presence, we mobilise communities to set up “rights protection committees” with community volunteers. This network of grassroots volunteers safeguards social sustainability in our projects and our 60,000-plus volunteers (and counting) also carry our message forward.


Hand in Hand India's model both at the grassroots and organisation level is one that has been documented as case studies by premier educational institutions such as Harvard, Stanford and London School of Economics. Through Hand in Hand Academy, one can gain rich practical exposure and theoretical experience of social entrepreneurship. The Academy for Social Entrepreneurship aims at making social entrepreneurship more accessible to the younger generation.


We believe that sustainability is not limited to economic parameters – it also has social and environmental implications. Our interventions aim at changing mindsets and attitudes, raising awareness and creating a dialogue around issues like universal education, environmental degradation and health rights. Economic sustainability is ensured by the formation of village development committees and merging with Government interventions in the long term.

Public Private Partnerships

We recognise that the most efficient way to achieve sustainable development is for private stakeholders, civil society and the Government to work together. As an NGO, we have worked with many corporates in CSR partnerships.

Global Goals

With our integrated community development programme, we are marching towards Agenda 2030, aligning our work with 16 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Awards and recognition

We are proud of what we have achieved and over the years we have been recognized and given the honour by some esteemed institutions.

  • Women Transforming India Award Dr.Kalpana Sankar wins the Women Transforming India award from NITI Aayog and United Nations India from the Hon'ble Defence Minister on Women's Day 2020.

  • Bal Kalyan Puraskar
    from the Ministry of Women and Child Development under the institution category.

    Swachh Bharat Award for Waste Management at the National Swachhata Summit - HHIDS

  • 3R Forum HHIDS wins the first prize for under the NGO category for its work in Karaikal Municipality at the 3R Forum in Asia nd the Pacific.

    Best CSR Project We get the Best CSR Project award from the Govt. of Tamil Nadu, for our work in the Nammiyampattu Watershed Project.

  • Nari Shakti Puraskar Dr.Kalpana Sankar wins the Nari Shakti Puraskar from the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt. of India, for the contribution to the empowerment of vulnerable and marginalized women.