Indian-Americans should help “right people for the right cause” in India: Kirti Joshi, CEO of Janvikas

Kirti Joshi, CEO of Janvikas, a development organization in India, speaking during an interview with ITV Gold, Jan. 26, 2021. Photo: courtesy ITV Gold

The time has come for Indian-Americans to help India not based on how they may identify with a particular region, caste or class, says Kirti Joshi, CEO of the non-governmental organization Janvikas, whose motto is “A Quest for ‘Just’ Human Development,” and which strives to empower and educate people about their rights and entitlements.

In a recent interview with ITV Gold, which is part of Parikh Worldwide Media, Joshi, who lived in the U.S. and studied at American University before returning to India in 2015, spoke about her experiences and the programs that Janvikas is running in her homeland.

“For a number of years, we kept donating in terms of class, caste, region …,” she said about Indian-Americans. Now, Joshi said, those interested in helping should look at who is doing a good job on the ground, and give “to the right people for the right cause.” That approach would deliver better results, she indicated.

Janvikas ( is a Public Charitable Trust, that began work in 1987, is today operating in 11 districts of Gujarat, has promoted some 18 other community-based organizations, trained and developed some 1,425 community leaders, and helped 11,378 young women and men get jobs.

In her interview, Joshi spoke of the complexity of India which is diverse yet inclusive and democratic, noting, “India cannot borrow from any other country,” when solutions have to be found. They have to be customized to the country’s needs.

A “secularized approach” has to be taken to tackle problems in a country with the caste, class, race, religions that India has. Janvikas with its ‘empowerment’ and ‘transparent’ approach has succeeded in implementing many important projects.

Among the signature projects she referred to were, working with 800 government primary schools in the Udaan program; starting 160 support centers – Adhikar Prapti Kendra – to make people aware of their entitlements and getting the benefits to reach those they are aimed at; Garima, the program for manual scavengers that attempts to make life safer and replace the life-threatening tasks through technological interventions; digital literacy initiatives that include women being trained for non-traditional work; and last but most important in the post-COVID situation – healthcare accessibility.

In India, Joshi noted, there are 1,511 patients per doctor, 670 patents per nurse, and just 20 paramedics for every 10,000 people.

The Janvikas Center for Health Education has the goal of training 590 health workers, mainly youth from underserved communities. Over the next two years, Janvikas hopes to have 2 such centers, Joshi said, one in Kutch and the other in Panchmahal.

Meanwhile, the organization’s Human and Institutional Development Resource Centre and its Centres for Social Justice, all aim at building the groundwork for working on development projects.

Two months ago, the Gandhian Society in New Jersey donated a van that now helps Janvikas operate an ambulance that can ferry patients from remote areas to hospitals or medical centers.

Joshi appealed to Indian-Americans to continue helping their homeland.



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