Empowering women through education: The role of Action Village India

Empowering women through education: The role of Action Village India

Explore the partnership between Tea India and Action Village India (AVI) in empowering women through education. Learn how AVI's initiatives are making a difference in rural India, supported by Tea India's commitment to social impact. Discover the journey towards a more just, equal, and inclusive society.

As International Women's Day approaches, it's a poignant moment to reflect on the strides made towards gender equality and the ongoing work needed to create a more just, equal, and inclusive society. In this blog post, we'll shine a light on Action Village India (AVI), a charitable organisation dedicated to supporting marginalised communities in rural India. Specifically, we'll explore AVI's impactful efforts in empowering women and girls through education, and the role that Tea India plays in helping this mission through our meaningful partnership.

Who is Action Village India (AVI)?

Action Village India (AVI) stands as a beacon of hope in the journey towards a more equitable and inclusive India. By supporting Indian partner organizations working closely with villagers in remote rural areas, AVI empowers communities to improve their lives, livelihoods, and resilience. Rooted in the vision of a just, fair, and inclusive India, AVI tirelessly advocates for the rights and opportunities of all individuals, regardless of gender, ethnicity, caste, or belief. This commitment aligns closely with Tea India's values, which extend beyond crafting authentic chai experiences to fostering positive social change and making a tangible difference in the lives of people across India. Through a dedicated partnership, Tea India extends its support to AVI, amplifying efforts to empower women and girls through education and create a brighter, more equitable future for all.

A group of young girls smiling who have been supported by Action Village India

The AVI Mission

A steadfast mission drives Action Village India to empower every individual in rural India to take control of their lives and thrive in fair, equal, and inclusive communities. At the core of AVI's objectives is the belief that sustainable development begins with securing the rights and strengthening livelihoods. With a geographical focus spanning from Bihar in the North to Tamil Nadu in the South, AVI supports rural communities that are often marginalised and underserved by government programs. Within these communities, AVI implements a diverse range of programs and initiatives aimed at uplifting women and girls. These initiatives encompass education, vocational training, healthcare access, advocacy for land rights, agricultural innovation, and promotion of women's rights and gender equality. Guided by the Gandhian tradition of non-violent change and self-organisation, AVI adopts an approach rooted in grassroots empowerment and community-driven solutions. This approach recognises the expertise and agency of local partners and communities in addressing their own needs and advancing social change.

The history of AVI

Action Village India (AVI) traces its roots back to 1988 when a group of individuals inspired by their experiences in India came together to form 'Friends of ASSEFA' (The Association for Sarva Seva Farms, Tamil Nadu). This group, led by Chris Wilde, Ivan Nutbrown, Bryan Osbon, and others, initially formed to support ASSEFA's projects in Tamil Nadu. In 1991, AVI secured its first grant for a rural development project in Lathur Block, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, marking the official beginning of its journey. Over the years, AVI expanded its reach and impact by forming partnerships with additional Indian organisations working towards similar goals. Notably, in 1997, AVI formally changed its name to Action Village India to reflect its growing network and focus on collaborative action. From its humble beginnings, AVI has evolved into a prominent force for rural development in India, raising over £4.5 million for projects aimed at empowering marginalised communities and promoting social justice.

Two women hugging and smiling

Success Stories 

Let's take a closer look at some of the impactful projects and success stories that exemplify Action Village India's commitment to empowering rural communities and promoting social justice in India.

Educating Girls, Transforming Lives

In collaboration with Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra (NBJK), Action Village India supports girls from scheduled castes to access educational opportunities. We work together to pay for tuition fees, uniforms, books and supervision for girls who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. We also provide regular tuition sessions in Maths, Science and English for 600 girls through 20 NBJK Coaching Centres. The students are in class 8, 9 or 10, nearly all from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The coaching centres run for two and a half hours a day, 5 days a week. The centres are based mainly in the government schools – ensuring ease of access, and where this is not possible, in village halls. The teachers working in partnership with the project are also responsible for raising awareness amongst the communities on the importance of educating girls. They organise parents’ meetings to prevent any girls from dropping out of school and organise quizzes and essay competitions to improve the girls’ confidence and enjoyment of school.

10 girls standing in a colourful hallway smiling

Women's Local Governance Project:

Action Village India works in partnership with EquiDiversity Foundation, as part of the Women's Local Governance Project in West Bengal. This project focuses on empowering women to participate in local governance and decision-making processes in rural Indian communities. Through targeted training programs, capacity-building workshops, and advocacy efforts, Action Village India works to increase women's representation in local governing bodies such as Gram Panchayats (village councils) and Self-Help Groups (SHGs). By equipping women with leadership skills, knowledge of governance structures, and confidence to engage in public affairs, the project aims to address gender disparities in decision-making and promote women's voices and perspectives in community development initiatives. As a result of these interventions, women have gained increased representation in local governance bodies, which has led to more inclusive and equitable decision-making processes at the grassroots level.

EquiDiversity Foundation members both men and women smiling from West Bengal

How can you help?

Supporting Action Village India is a meaningful way to make a tangible difference in the lives of rural communities in India. There are several ways you can contribute. You can make a one-time or recurring donation to support AVI's projects and initiatives, ensuring that resources reach those who need them most. Additionally, you can become a member of AVI, joining a community of individuals dedicated to creating positive change in rural India. If you're passionate about volunteering, AVI offers opportunities to get involved in fundraising events, advocacy campaigns, and other activities. By supporting AVI, you're not only helping to transform lives but also contributing to the vision of a more just, equal, and inclusive society. Find out more here.

Nav Bharat Jagriti Kendra (NBJK) members, a group of young girls at school

Through its rich history, steadfast commitment, and impactful projects, Action Village India has emerged as a beacon of hope and catalyst for change in rural India, especially for women and girls. From pioneering initiatives in maternal health and organic farming to empowering women in local governance, AVI's work exemplifies the transformative power of education, empowerment, and community-driven solutions. As we celebrate International Women's Day and honour the resilience and achievements of women in rural India, let us continue to stand in solidarity of a shared mission of creating a more just, equal, and inclusive society for all.

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