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Together with its active and dedicated volunteer base, Isha's activities serve as a thriving model for human empowerment and community revitalization throughout the world. 

Involving the Next Generation

Even at a primary school age, a child’s creativity and understanding about what is best for their health and the environment outshines that of most adults. Isha Outreach’s collaborations with government schools, youth corps and clubs proves time and again that children are capable “development actors” within their communities. Bringing urban children into rural areas to experience village conditions and lifestyle and interact with their rural counterparts is a priceless exchange that opens minds and generates advanced understanding at a very young age.


In order for initiatives to become self-sustaining, communities need to be inspired and motivated, with all parties benefiting through their fullest inclusion and participation. Self-sufficiency and dynamism replace dependency and helplessness, reigniting hope through highly successful engagement strategies that invite and inspire participation. As such, community capacity building is core to all of Isha’s interventions.

Grassroots Volunteering

Isha volunteers are the building blocks of Isha Foundation. A reliable network of more than 9 million people willing to change themselves and their surroundings, the volunteers are spread over hundreds of city-based centers. Their dedication and willingness to share their experience and expertise in various fields allows Isha to implement largescale development activities.

Throughout the course of the project, wherever possible, community leaders enable teams of Isha volunteers to live as guests within the beneficiary communities. Simply sharing a meal or day-to-day events with members of the community helps develop solidarity between the Isha project teams and the people they serve. This dynamic often draws the community leaders right into the heart of the project and inspiring them to become increasingly engaged in the possibilities available to their communities.


Finally, even the best project identification and planning exercises cannot anticipate the realities of implementation. The creative adaptability of the target population must be tapped to identify problems and propose solutions. Networking with interest groups, such as self-help groups, community-based organizations, national authorities, business communities and NGOs brings synergy to a project. Difficulties are alleviated thanks to a broad base of support. Logical planning may well offer a high level of control over the project, but it will not deliver the kind of “illogical” success that comes when exuberant community members surpass the “final expected results.”


Women’s participation is also of paramount importance in the overall improvement in community health and well-being. Women are considered the main force in a village community, charged with housework, earning income, organizing community activities and child rearing. If women are convinced about incorporating a simple herbal supplement into the family diet, then it becomes certain that the nutrition of the family – and of children in particular – will be positively affected.


Farmers play a fundamental role in Project GreenHands by adopting agroforestry as a means to utilize agricultural land, including otherwise fallow land. As such, farmers’ mobilization through awareness generation and regular follow-up visits are given priority.


Historically, ancient Indian culture was attuned to celebration 365 days a year. In recent times however, this celebratory spirit has lessened as obligation has replaced innate euphoria, and the stresses of daily life – economic sustenance and marginalization – have quelled the natural expression of joy. Experience has shown that positive results occur in an unforeseen and unique way when project cycle management is infused with a spirit of celebration. Whether in tree planting, health screening or community education, Isha strives to foster an inclusive atmosphere of joy.

The Role of the Government

Isha programs bring existing government schemes and support to the people. Villagers become aware of their rights and eventually become capable of self-administering programs, such as the Kalaignar Health Insurance Scheme.