About Us

HelpAge India is a secularapoliticalnon-profit and a non-governmental organisation in India registered under the Societies' Registration Act of 1860. Set up in 1978, HelpAge India is a registered national level voluntary organisation. Since its foundation, its mission is to work for the cause and care of disadvantaged older persons, in order to improve their quality of life.


Mission
To work for the cause and care of disadvantaged older persons and to improve their quality of life.

History

What began as a humble initiative from a rented two-room office in New Delhi’s Kasturba Gandhi Marg has now blossomed into an extensive operation spread across 26 states with 90 project offices in India and headquartered at the capital’s Qutab Institutional Area. HelpAge India came into being in 1978 with Cecil Jackson Cole, founder of HelpAge International (UK), as its first President. Around this time two other men figured prominently in the HelpAge India story - John F. Pearson & Samson Daniel.

Constant endowments, from the United Kingdom were something both Pearson and Cole felt would not be practical in the long run. They realized that they needed to think out of the box so that charities in the developing world could continue to have a regular inflow of funds and to make a positive and lasting impact.
In March 1974, when Cole, visited India, an intrepid philanthropist named Samson Daniel approached him for financial help to set up a member organisation in Delhi. A far-sighted man, Cole instead offered to train him to raise funds. After a three month training course in London, Mr. Daniel and his wife returned to India and organized a sponsored walk with schoolchildren in Delhi. It was so successful that in 1975 HelpAge International recruited more staff to cover Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
In April 1978, HelpAge India was officially registered in Delhi. Pearson became a Trustee of the organisation and a key member of its Governing Board. Philip Jackson, one of the founder members of HelpAge International came on board in 1978 as HelpAge India’s first Chief Executive. Within three months it became autonomous as financial support ceased from UK. Soon after, in July, the Society was awarded Certificates of Exemption under Sections 12A and 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961, thus indicating general confidence in the Society’s affairs.

A New Force of Change

The year 1980 saw the advent of an individual who was to become an integral part of the HelpAge story and its driving force. Madan Mohan Sabharwal was born on August 21, 1922. Happily married, tragedy struck when his wife died, leaving him a widower at the age of 51. Bereft, Sabharwal began to focus his attention, and his many skills, on promoting the cause of the aged. He took over the reins as President of HelpAge India’s Governing Body in 1986-87 succeeding John F. Pearson. Today he continues to be an integral part of HelpAge as its President Emeritus.
Sabharwal came from a rich corporate background, so the charitable sector was relatively new to him, but he made efforts to know about its inner workings and felt that changes at the Government policy level were imperative for a long sustaining impact on the lives of India’s elderly. He later went on to join the four-member committee set up by the Government to review the National Policy on Older Persons.

Then & Now

When HelpAge India was formed in 1978, there were 33 million older persons in India without a dedicated body to voice their concerns, take an interest in their health or fulfill their potential to lead dignified, healthy and secure lives. The number of senior citizens has since swelled to 100 million and still counting. By 2030, the population of the elderly is projected to hit the 200 million mark!
Over the last three decades, HelpAge has put welfare and developmental programmes in place and fought for the rights of disadvantaged older people so that they can be economically and physically secure. However, a lot more needs to be done, a fact that HelpAge India recognizes considering the alarming statistics that confront today’s senior citizens.

Activities

HelpAge runs a variety of programmes benefiting the disadvantaged elderly. Though its focus remains primarily on the destitute elder for whom most of its services are in place, it also works with and for the urban elder who face isolation and neglect on a large scale. Here below is a glimpse of the kind of programmes HelpAge supports & runs:
Mobile Medical Units (MMU): This programme provides over 1.7 million treatments through its 81 MMU vans covering 840 locations across India. This programme has been recognised as Asia's largest Mobile Medical Programme for the elderly.
Cataract Surgeries: HelpAge India funds over 30,000 cataract surgeries for needy elderly every year. In most cases, these surgeries help the affected elderly get back to work and earn a living once again, freeing them from financial dependency on anyone, enabling them to live a life of dignity.
Cancer and Palliative Care: HelpAge India provides palliative care to end stage patients suffering from Cancer. Last year, over 7500 patients and their families received this help.
Agecare/Physiocare centres: Elderly are usually impacted by the onset of arthritis and other related disease; this affects their ability to work and therefore earn their living. HelpAge India supports over 16,000 elders in Physiocare centres across 22 states.
Support a Gran: HelpAge India enables over 30,000 destitute elderly to sustain themselves with regular supplies of food rations, clothing and basic healthcare. This Support-a-Gran programme works across India, enabling these elders live with dignity and independence.
Old Age Homes/Day Care Centres: A roof over their heads is the critical need of the destitute, the sick and the abandoned, the uprooted by disasters and emergencies. This basic care is provided by HelpAge India supporting over 60 old age homes across the country every year.
Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation: every disaster impacts the elderly very adversely as they are unable to push for relief packages. HelpAge India has stepped in at every major disaster, delivering specialised relief and rehabilitation measures. These range from floods in the plains of Assam, Bihar, Odisha, UP, Tsunami in Tamil Nadu to earthquakes in Gujarat and J&K and the recent Uttarakhand Floods.
Livelihood programmes: income generation schemes enable otherwise needy elders to set up self-help groups to avail micro credit and start commercial enterprises. These help them earn their livelihood and regain their financial independence. Over 3200 such Elder Self Help Groups, covering more than 42,000 elders operate across India.
Tamaraikulam Elders Village (TEV): TEV is a unique rehabilitation project situated on the Cuddalore-Puducherry road, Tamil Nadu, built by HelpAge India - NDTV Viewers after the Tsunami in 2004. 100 elder victims of the Tsunami devastation were given a safe place to live in a model elder village which provides health care, professional care, livelihood options and recreational facilities.


Advocacy
HelpAge India reaches 1.2 million elderly through its various interventions. However, that's just one percent of the 100 million elderly in India today. To be able to work for the other 99%, HelpAge India needs far greater resources and consistent support of the society and governments in states and the centre. Raising public awareness and interacting with media, legislators and governments to espouse the elder cause is therefore an essential and continuous activity of HelpAge India.

Working with Society: Public awareness on elder issues - Building public awareness on the importance of supporting the elder cause is a key objective of HelpAge India. It invites public participation in 'Walkathons' on International day of Elder Persons (IDOP) on 1 October; involves the media in highlighting the evil of elder abuse on ‘World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’ on June 15 of each year.
Working with the Youth: Student Action for Value Education (SAVE) - Student Action for Value Education (SAVE) aims to inculcate care and respect for the elderly through HelpAge India's long standing programme with schools across the country; the HUG (Help Unite Generations) initiative aims at involving college students and young professionals to engage with elders and keep in regular touch with them, providing them companionship in their lonely, later years.
Working with Governments: for Elder-friendly Policies and Laws - sensitizing legislators and governments in states and centre has resulted in HelpAge India contributing significantly to the formulation of the National Policy on Older Persons and the enactment of the Maintenance & Welfare of the Parents and Senior Citizens Act (2007). Current ongoing efforts aim at inclusion of age care in school curriculum and the provision for old age pensions; in some states, this pension facility is being introduced though the quantum of pension is still inadequate.
Working with Senior Citizen Associations: for senior citizens - HelpAge India taps the potential of Senior Citizens in evolving solutions to address their needs; it is currently associated with almost 1000 SCAs across the country. In addition, it holds regular health camps, offers counselling for financial assistance schemes like the Reverse Mortgage scheme and a nationwide helpline service for elders in distress.
AdvantAge Card programme for Active Ageing: This free of charge benefit card offers discounts from retail associates on various products, services and facilities ranging from health and wellness to holiday homes. It helps card holders to stretch household budgets, especially of those elder citizens living on limited or fixed incomes and, more importantly, encourages elder citizens to be physically active as the card requires their visiting the retail outlets themselves. Currently it has over 1.3 lakh members from over 200 towns and cities in India.
Policy Research & Development: HelpAge India being a voluntary organisation also focusses on policy related research on ageing issues particularly on the urgent concerns like poverty, isolation, and neglect. This is done with the view to mainstream the issues pertaining to aged and ageing in the country.
The extensive experience of HelpAge in the field informs the research efforts of the organisation. Accordingly, efforts were made from time to time to understand poverty in old age and possible ways of poverty alleviation in old age. The other most important aspect that requires urgent attention is safety and security of the vulnerable older persons. So every year HI brings out the nuances of elder abuse prevalent in society.

Supporters

HelpAge receives support from Individual Volunteering, Corporates & Business houses, Trusts & Foundations, Bi-Lateral & Multi-Lateral Funders.

Awards & Recognitions
Over the years HelpAge India’s work has been recognized by various organizations and institutions. We are thankful to them for entrusting their faith and belief in our services and giving us such an honor. It encourages and makes us believe that we are on the right track at the same time reminds us of the great responsibility we carry on our shoulders towards the elderly of our society.

Recognized by ICAI for Financial Excellence 2011-12 Recognized by ICAI for Financial Excellence 2010-11 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Social Welfare 2011 Best NGO Award, two times in 3 years Healthcare Leadership Award 2012.