When India entered into lockdown in March 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi immediately turned to local non-government organizations (NGOs) for help in providing necessities to the poor, giving medical and protective gear to hospitals, and spreading awareness on the importance of physical distancing.
PM Modi's directive showed how much value NGOs hold in the country. India boasts the most NGOs globally, with an estimated 3.3 million registered organizations. That's one NGO taking care of every 400 Indian citizens. The country also mandates large corporations to allot 2 percent of their budget to address social issues under the Corporate Social Responsibility Act.
The investment and influence of these NGOs played a considerable role when India's less-prioritized health care system—funded with only 1.2% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product—was stretched thin as the pandemic intensified. India eventually became one of the world's COVID-19 hotspots.
NGOs set up oxygen plants and provided medical and diagnostic equipment to primary and community health centers across the country, doing all they could to help augment the national government's large-scale COVID-19 efforts.
NGOs: A Helping Hand Through and Through
NGO work goes beyond providing services during crises—they also maintain a lasting presence in the communities they support.
One of these NGOs is the Robin Hood Army, a volunteer-based, zero-funds organization that works with public and private institutions to address the ongoing food crisis in India. For example, restaurants in Indore contribute to the homeless through volunteer programs with the said NGO.
“Robins,” as the volunteer group of mostly students and young working professionals are called, collect surplus food from restaurants and households to distribute to, among others, homeless families, orphanages, public hospitals, and adult care homes.
TaskUs, a global provider of outsourced digital services and next-generation customer experience, also recently partnered with the Robin Hood Army in support of its mission of addressing the food crisis in the country,
TaskUs India employees in Indore, Gurugram, and Mohali donated wheat, flour, rice, salt, and other food supplies, which were distributed to the most vulnerable groups in nearby communities in the months of August and September this year.
NGOs in India, like the Robin Hood Army, have shown that their altruistic and noble service will always be available to those on the edges of society. Through their enduring presence in India, these organizations are capable of adapting their outreach programs to suit the specific needs of the communities they serve.
NGOs bring out the best not only in themselves but also in partners and donors. They are the working proof that, through collective efforts, change blossoms.