AROH Foundation, one of India’s leading NGOs, completes 20 years of inception and impact
Published on September 20, 2021 at 1:32 am
August 2021 has been special for AROH Foundation, one of India’s leading NGOs, as the Foundation completes its 20 glorious years of community service and impact.
AROH was established in 2001 by visionary leader Dr Neelam Gupta to give back to society. Presently, AROH is a well-recognised and leading multi-sectoral development organisation, having its presence in most states of India with over 500 professionals and expert staff in its troop.
Entitlements come after years of endeavours and endurance.
Recalling the challenges of initial days, Dr Gupta says, “Endurance hasn’t been easy. Endurance while sustaining the organic growth of the Foundation was even harder. The journey of twenty years or two decades, though rewarding, has been full of challenges. Personally for me, being a woman social entrepreneur was doubly challenging, especially in the initial days when women faced social taboos and stigmas at every stage of their lives. Today, increasingly, women are bumping and breaking the ‘glass ceilings’, and I feel happy and proud that AROH also is supporting the frame of female representation—starting from beneficiary selection, ground staff, entry-level management—up to the board of directors. It’s emerged as a women-led organisation.”
Elucidating more of her struggles, she says, “Funds and manpower crunch, tests and trials of working in vulnerable, remote locations like red corridors and Naxalite areas, interiors of conflict-ridden areas in Odisha, Chhattisgarh or tough terrains in Meghalaya posed many challenges, which were and still are at constant face-off with the organisation. But, the motivation and dedication of the team took us on the right highway and we could deliver results under the most difficult circumstances. Being a selfless, no-profit venture, we also draw our motivation from our beneficiaries and stakeholders. And so, we, at AROH feel extremely humble and grateful to all our partners for having placed their trust and confidence in us through our journey of two decades.”
Today AROH is privileged to be working with government ministries and public sector and various prestigious corporates as well as multilateral organisations, to create an impact towards sustainable development through various interventions.
Giving an overview, Dr Gupta says, “AROH’s projects and interventions include water and natural resource management, women empowerment, education, health and sanitation, skills and livelihood generation, holistic rural development, agriculture development and rural governance, emphasizing innovation, impact, and sustainability, with an overarching focus on the empowerment of girls and women.” She emphasized her organisation’s pillar to be standing fast of 3 P’s – Purpose, Passion and Perseverance.
Dr Gupta has been able to build a robust team by inculcating commitment and sincerity towards work as strong values for the organisation. The use of technology to bring transparency and accountability through information sharing and developing sound systems and policies of internal checks, monitoring and evaluation has helped in creating goodwill as well as credibility for AROH Foundation amongst the stakeholders. AROH could swiftly drift through COVID havoc, as it had already upgraded its working for a digital transition. Not just sailing itself through, AROH’s warriors were standing fast on the ground during both the first and the second COVID wave, supplying people with essentials. AROH is hailed for its pioneering initiatives for large scale CSR projects and flagship government schemes.
During its journey, women’s empowerment has been a cross-cutting theme and focus in all its endeavours. The Foundation has impacted the lives of more than one lakh women through various interventions. Economic empowerment of India’s youth is a must to reap the country’s rich demographic dividend. AROH Foundation has so far trained and employed more than 25,000 youth and engaged them in jobs and self-employment. This year, AROH entered its third decade in the development sector with a presence in over 1,200 villages across 90 districts in 18 states of India, benefiting more than 10 lakh needy people by far and the work continues to grow.
AROH Foundation has been recognised both nationally and internationally for its significant contribution to the social sector in India. The Foundation is known for its work in impacting all 17 SDGs for which the Foundation received the Best NGO Award from Global Compact India Network in 2019. There have been several awards and accolades by prestigious institutes like FICCI, Goodera, Women Economic Forum, NY Times NGO Summit etc.
While elaborating on the Foundation’s future, Dr Gupta said, “The future of AROH Foundation is no more of what I dream or plan, but it now carries dreams of all the employees and beneficiaries of the Foundation. The need for diversification, of serving varied causes which have emerged in this new era, while extending the patronage to the deprived as much as possible is our future ideal. Causes of water, climate, Covid, technology, education, skill and health needs our immediate thought and action. With its experience, expertise and learning of nearly two decades, AROH has a robust roadmap to establish itself as one the largest NGOs in its outreach, both nationally and internationally. As AROH brings in meaningful changes and transformation in lives of poor people, I feel proud to establish AROH as a creditable institution scaling new heights and working for holistic empowerment of the poor.”