An NGO in India, or a Non-Governmental Organization, is a non-profit entity that operates independently of the government and is driven by a social or humanitarian mission. The primary aim of an NGO in India is to address various societal issues and bring about positive change. 

These organizations often focus on critical areas such as poverty alleviation, healthcare, education, environmental conservation, women’s empowerment, and human rights. NGOs play a crucial role in bridging gaps, advocating for marginalized communities, and mobilizing resources to create a more equitable and just society. Their efforts contribute significantly to social development and upliftment in India.

Here is the list of Top 10 NGOs in India:

The following NGOs in India exemplify dedicated efforts toward social upliftment and transformation. From combating drug addiction to empowering underprivileged children and marginalized communities, their impactful initiatives encompass a wide spectrum of humanitarian causes.

1. Dera Sacha Sauda  

Dera Sacha Sauda, founded by Revered Saint Shah Mastana Ji Maharaj and is currently led by the revered spiritual leader His Holiness Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, is a prominent socio-spiritual organization in India. Established in 1948, it has grown to become a multifaceted institution with a strong presence in various humanitarian, social, and spiritual activities.

One of the notable aspects of Dera Sacha Sauda is its unwavering commitment to tackling societal issues, with a particular focus on drug addiction. Under the visionary leadership of Guruji, Dera Sacha Sauda launched the Drug Eradication Pan India through Health and Meditation (DEPTH) Campaign, a comprehensive initiative aimed at eradicating drug addiction. This campaign has successfully de-addicted individuals from various types of drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, and narcotics.

Dera Sacha Sauda’s impact transcends individual transformations; it plays a vital role in national security by combating drug abuse, which is often linked to terrorism. The organization’s reach extends across states like Haryana, Punjab, and Delhi, making a substantial contribution to the collective well-being of society.

With Guruji’s inspirational leadership, Dera Sacha Sauda has garnered millions of supporters who actively participate in campaigns promoting cleanliness, tree plantation, disaster relief, blood donation and more. Its holistic approach to spirituality, social welfare, and addiction recovery has earned it recognition as a compassionate and transformative force making it easily a choice for the best NGO in India.

2. Goonj

Goonj, spearheaded by social entrepreneur Anshu Gupta, aims to bridge the urban-rural gap by utilizing underutilized material to empower impoverished communities with dignity. Gupta, known as the “Clothing Man,” has been recognized with the Magsaysay Award for transforming India’s culture of giving and promoting material as a sustainable resource for the disadvantaged. 

Goonj operates a unique model that exchanges urban surplus for rural labour, catalyzing significant rural development efforts. Gupta’s work has garnered national and international accolades, including Ashoka and Schwab Fellowships, and Forbes Magazine recognition as one of India’s influential rural entrepreneurs. Goonj envisions extending its impact globally by engaging communities in designing and implementing their solutions.

Goonj, a dynamic organization, transforms underutilized material into a catalyst for change through diverse initiatives. Cloth for Work empowers communities with old materials in exchange for rural development efforts. School to School bridges educational gaps by redirecting urban school resources to needy schools. 

Not Just a Piece of Cloth provides dignity and hygiene for women during menstruation. Rahat aids disaster relief and prevention. Green by Goonj crafts products from reused materials to support rural work. Goonj Alliance for Rapid Response on Disasters enhances disaster relief collaboration. Goonj Fellowships foster social change and community development.

3. Oxfam India

Oxfam India, one of the prominent non profit organizations in India, is dedicated to ending discrimination and fostering a just society. They focus on marginalized groups such as Adivasis, Dalits, Muslims, and Informal Sector Workers, striving to provide them with safe, violence-free lives, equal opportunities, and a future free from discrimination. 

Through ground-level actions, knowledge building, and public campaigning, they address deep-rooted inequalities. Oxfam India envisions an India where every individual lives with dignity, free from injustice and inequality, and they actively involve communities and supporters in their mission.

The  NGO is dedicated to addressing the alarming wealth inequality in the country. They work alongside marginalized communities, with a special focus on women, to empower them, ensure their rights, and reshape power dynamics. Oxfam advocates for universal access to quality healthcare and education, pushing for progressive tax reforms and fair corporate taxation to fund these initiatives. 

Their efforts aim to provide equal opportunities, wages, and resource rights to the poorest communities while enhancing resilience, combating violence against women, and promoting gender parity in public institutions. Additionally, they engage the public in active citizenship and collaborate with the private sector to promote responsible business practices.

4. HelpAge India

HelpAge India, established in 1978 as a secular, non-profit organization, envisions a society where the elderly lead active, healthy, and dignified lives. Recognized with the ‘UN Population Award 2020,’ it advocates for India’s 138 million elderly. Through 26 state offices, it runs programs providing healthcare, age care, livelihood support, disaster response, and advocacy for elder-friendly policies. 

HelpAge India’s history traces back to founder Cecil Jackson Cole and key figures like John F. Pearson and Samson Daniel. They transformed it into an autonomous organization, promoting the welfare of seniors. Today, it operates extensively across 26 states from its headquarters in Delhi’s Qutab Institutional Area.

HelpAge India, a prominent NGO, undertakes a comprehensive array of initiatives to enhance the well-being of senior citizens in India. Their efforts include mobile healthcare units and clinics, health camps, and eye care programs to cater to elderly individuals in remote areas. They manage old age homes and senior care centers, offering shelter, food, and medical support to destitute seniors. 

HelpAge India runs a toll-free elder helpline for counseling and assistance on various elderly issues. They empower seniors through income generation programs, engage in advocacy for policy reforms, combat elder abuse through awareness campaigns, conduct research on senior issues, provide emergency relief in crises, and raise awareness through campaigns while fostering intergenerational understanding through various programs.

5. Yuva India

Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA), a non-profit established in Mumbai in 1984, empowers marginalized communities across multiple Indian states. Their approach combines on-ground initiatives addressing housing, livelihood, environment, and governance with advocacy and policy recommendations. 

YUVA’s roots trace back to student volunteers in the late 1970s, who recognized the need to address structural inequalities and empower the underprivileged. Over the years, YUVA expanded its scope to include diverse issues, such as inter-religious tensions, disaster response, rural development, and urban-rural linkages, with a focus on poverty, environment, and governance since 2012.

YUVA employs a multi-pronged approach that includes facilitating people’s organizations, promoting awareness, conducting training, ensuring access to basic rights, researching policy, and advocating for participatory governance. 

Their vision is to create a humane society based on equality, justice, and secularism, while their mission centers on empowering the marginalized and facilitating equitable participation in development. YUVA’s values include social justice, gender justice, secularism, integrity, and environmental sustainability.

6. Nanhi Kali

In 1996, Anand Mahindra, Chairman of Mahindra Group, initiated Project Nanhi Kali (“a little bud”) through the K.C. Mahindra Education Trust with a mission to provide education to underprivileged girls in India. This visionary project emerged in response to challenges like high population growth, low female literacy rates, and limited female workforce participation, compounded by issues like child marriage and child labour, particularly in rural areas. 

Anand Mahindra believed that educating girls could combat these societal issues and contribute to India’s economic development and social equity. The World Bank’s 2018 report highlighted that girls’ education was pivotal for economic growth.

Project Nanhi Kali operates as a sponsorship program, encouraging individuals and corporations to sponsor girls’ education for a minimum of one year. Over the years, the project has reached over 500,000 underprivileged girls in 14 Indian states, from remote villages to urban slums, ensuring they complete 10 years of formal schooling. 

This initiative not only transforms individual lives but also has a broader impact on fertility rates, child marriage, health, and overall social development, building a more just and equal society.

7. Pratham

Pratham, a famous NGO in India, was established nearly 25 years ago in Mumbai with a vision to ensure every child’s access to quality education. Over the years, their mission expanded from Mumbai to encompass all of India, and their educational approaches have even influenced initiatives in Africa. By 2005, Pratham had expanded its presence to over 10 Indian states and initiated the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), a prominent citizen-led survey.

They focus on comprehensive education interventions, from early childhood to secondary school, aiming to maximize impact at minimal cost. Pratham Institute provides vocational training for underprivileged youth, while the Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children (PCVC) advocates for child rights and protection, addressing issues like child labour, exploitation, rescue, rehabilitation, and awareness. 

Pratham continues to grow, innovate, and develop cost-effective, high-impact, and scalable approaches to meet the educational needs of millions of disadvantaged children and youth in India.

8. Lotus Petal Foundation

Lotus Petal Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2011, is dedicated to alleviating poverty’s impact on underprivileged children in urban and semi-urban areas in India. They focus on social impact through high-impact interventions in education, healthcare, and nutrition, using innovative methodologies and data-driven approaches. 

Their mission encompasses providing exemplary education, nutritious meals, healthcare, and skill development to urban poor children and adults. Lotus Petal Foundation values the transformative power of education and seeks to engage people globally in supporting this cause.

In their fight against poverty, the foundation runs various programs, including Vidyananda School and Pratishthan Learning Center for underprivileged children’s education, Aarogya Wellness and Zero Hunger Food Bank for nutrition, and the Jeevika program for skill development. Their BlueKhoj initiative addresses job loss during the pandemic. 

Additionally, they offer volunteering opportunities, allowing individuals to contribute to society positively. Lotus Petal Foundation’s commitment to education and holistic development demonstrates its dedication to relieving poverty’s impact and creating lasting social change.

9. Deepalaya

Founded in 1979 with seven founding members, Deepalaya is a prominent NGO dedicated to empowering underprivileged individuals across India. Initially focused on educating disadvantaged children, their mission has evolved to include women and youth, aiming to make them self-reliant through education and vocational training. Deepalaya operates across multiple states in India, making it one of the largest operational NGOs in the country.

Over four decades, Deepalaya has touched the lives of nearly 2 crore beneficiaries, providing education, vocational training, and support to self-help groups. They prioritize the welfare of children, especially girls, street children, and disabled children, recognizing the family as a crucial channel for development. Their approach involves community organization and sensitization to empower and transform society.

Deepalaya collaborates with government and other agencies to influence policy making, striving for a just, equitable, and service-oriented society. Their core values revolve around transparency, accountability, and credibility, reflecting their commitment to enabling self-reliance and improving the quality of life for those they serve. Deepalaya’s enduring dedication to education and empowerment underscores its significant impact on India’s social landscape.

10. Anudip

In 2007, Actionaid and Reuters Foundation conducted a study revealing the transformative potential of local employment in India’s Ganges Delta region. This inspired the establishment of the Anudip Foundation, dedicated to addressing livelihood needs through IT training. They initiated job training centers in the Sundarbans, evolving into a market-aligned skills training model, significantly impacting the skilling industry. 

Anudip Foundation has been dedicated to creating digital livelihood opportunities for marginalized communities, impacting over 450,000 lives. They focus on crisis-stricken youth and women, providing technology-driven employability and entrepreneurship training that empowers individuals to earn sustainable wages and improve family incomes.

Anudip’s beneficiaries often come from high-need, marginalized backgrounds, including religious minorities, tribals, refugees, and trafficking victims. Recognized as one of India’s top 10 Best NGOs to Work For™ in 2022, Anudip offers diverse training and continuous mentoring at skill development centers across India. 

They also serve as a CSR Implementation Partner for leading corporations, including Accenture, JP Morgan, Capgemini, and more, facilitating digital livelihoods for vulnerable individuals. Anudip’s vision is to be a top entity promoting dignity through market-aligned skills training, while its mission aims to positively transform 100,000 lives annually by 2024 in an increasingly digital world.

Final Words

In conclusion, these renowned NGOs in India, driven by their unwavering commitment to charity and fundraising efforts, are making a substantial impact on the lives of marginalized and underprivileged individuals. Through their diverse initiatives and holistic approaches, they are addressing critical issues such as poverty, education, healthcare, gender equality, and disaster relief. 

These organizations, including Dera Sacha Sauda, Goonj, Oxfam India, HelpAge India, Yuva India, Nanhi Kali, Pratham, Lotus Petal Foundation, Deepalaya, and Anudip, have collectively touched millions of lives, offering hope, empowerment, and a chance at a better future. Their relentless dedication to social justice and humanitarian advocacy continues to inspire and uplift communities across India, embodying the true spirit of charitable giving and fundraising for the greater good.