Indian women making a Terracotta doll.

Our work in India

Hand in Hand India is our oldest and biggest operation. It was here, in the impoverished 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 conceived, tested and refined; that we first evolved our global ambitions.

Ten years later Hand in Hand India is a lasting source of innovation and expertise. In keeping with our commitment to South-to-South knowledge transfer, staff from the country helped launched Hand in Hand Afghanistan in 2007 and Hand in Hand Southern Africa in 2008, followed by pilot operations in Cambodia and Myanmar in 2013.

By the numbers

Members trained: 2.28 million

Our Self-Help Group members save together, train together and start businesses together  

Businesses launched: 2.37 million

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

Jobs created: 3.71 million

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

Lives improved: 11.85 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

Your donation at work

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33 Members Trained
48 Business Supported
37 Jobs Created
10 Lives Changed

Why India

It’s not a coincidence that Hand in Hand started in India. Poverty, and women’s unemployment, in the world’s largest democracy is rife.

Source: World Bank, 2012

Only 29% of Indian women are in paid employment – a number that continues to decrease

Source: UNICEF, 2012

One in every three malnourished children in the world live in India

Source: World Bank, 2012

21.9% of Indians live below the national poverty line

Source: Reserve Bank of India, 2013

73% of farmers have no access to formal sources of credit


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