Launched in 2012 in partnership with End Child Poverty, India Poverty Solutions is a children and youth-led initiative of Shanti Ashram, a Gandhian organisation based in India. It unites children and youth to work together and find simple and effective solutions to child poverty. The initiative aims to mobilise at least 1,000,000 children and youth volunteers belonging to the major faith traditions of India, as ‘Poverty Solutions Ambassadors’.
The core appeal of India Poverty Solutions rests upon it being led by children, for children. Children and youth set up their own savings mechanism, using a variety of devices such as “anundiyalor hundi”- a traditional home savings box (piggybank). After a given period, the young people collectively gather their savings and allocate the funds equitably to the child or youth for her or his own uses, supporting their respective families; and towards the larger society and meeting community development needs. This system of collective social responsibility for family and community development has led to a growing sense of confidence among the children and youth, as they have become more aware of their capability to affect their world, with the resources they have at hand.
Additionally, the children and the youth are encouraged to identify priority needs that they wish to address using the funds raised through India Poverty Solutions. Since inception, the children and youth have chosen to focus on supporting child health, child protection, education for all children and provision of food to families affected by poverty.
India Poverty Solutions was first launched in Coimbatore and has now expanded to four other places: Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kerala, with plans underway to replicate the model with children and youth in Pondicherry. Over 100 institutions have partners with Shanti Ashram to implement India Poverty Solutions. Shanti Ashram is now working with these and other partners in order to make India Poverty Solutions a pan-India movement that will benefit millions of children across the country. Shanti Ashram is also seeking avenues to provide this model globally, as a means to address child poverty worldwide.