Our work in India

Hand in Hand India is our oldest and biggest operation. It was here, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, that Hand in Hand co-founders Percy Barnevik and Dr Kalpana Sankar first met in 2004; that Hand in Hand’s job creation model was created, tested and refined – then exported across the world.

All these years later, Hand in Hand India remains a source of innovation and expertise, helping 300,000 women climb the ladder from subsistence to success every year.

Members trained: 2.72 million

100% of Self-Help Group members are women

Businesses launched: 2.87 million

Hand in Hand India entrepreneurs farm crops, manufacture and retail goods, supply green energy and more

Jobs created: 4.77 million

Jobs equal development. Our entrepreneurs make their own success, breaking the cycle of dependency*

Lives improved: 16.57 million

Every business we help create in India benefits an average of five family members – young, old and everywhere in between

*134,531 seasonal jobs are included in the total figure

The situation for women

It’s not a coincidence that Hand in Hand started in India. Between cultural barriers and sectoral segregation, opportunities for women in the world’s largest democracy are so scarce the country ranks 149 of 153 on the World Economic Forum’s ranking for women’s economic participation – and things are getting worse by the year.

24 percent of working-age women are currently in work compared to 80 percent of men – a gap that’s expanding, not shrinking

91% of unpaid labour is done by women

Women working as casual labourers in rural India earn 31 percent less than men – for the same work

34% of women are illiterate

Meet our entrepreneurs

Your donation at work

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74 Members Trained
94 Business Supported
74 Jobs Created
27 Lives Changed

Independent evaluations

Member survey

“Jobs supported by Hand in Hand India are long-lasting: more than 97% are sustained three years on from Hand in Hand’s initial support.”

Read the report

Expansion map

Hand in Hand India works in seven states countrywide, with plans to expand into more. Partnership programmes are under way in Cambodia and Myanmar.

Dr Kalpana Sankar | Chairman and Managing Trustee | Hand in Hand India

Meet Hand in Hand Co-founder Dr Kalpana Sankar

Dr Sankar co-founded Hand in Hand in 2004. Today she’s the Chair and Managing Trustee of Hand in Hand India, and a global authority on fighting poverty with grassroots entrepreneurship.

Find out more