SWAMI Vivekananda is revered across the country as one of the foremost youth icons and thought leaders of the early modern era. He is often credited with catapulting Indian spiritual philosophy onto the world stage at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. Such was the enigma of young Swami Vivekananda that he left the world spellbound by his oratory and his philosophy. Poverty alleviation is central to India’s rise, as envisioned by Swami Vivekananda. That cannot be achieved as long as the youth of India remain under-educated or without enough opportunities to succeed.

It is no coincidence that the number of poor people in India is equal to the number of illiterate people. While 270 million people live below the poverty line, around 272 million are uneducated. And a majority of this chunk of the population comprises the youth.

There have been very few leaders in Indian history more fitting to be a guiding light to the youth of India than Swami Vivekananda. He embodied eternal, youthful energy and the quest for truth. In acknowledgement of his position as a thought leader, the Government of India in 1985 declared January 12, Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, as National Youth Day

This National Youth Day, we take a look at the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are working for the welfare of the youth of India and taking Swami Vivekananda’s work forward. 

Akshara Centre

Akshara Centre provides education, skills training and job opportunities for young women from disadvantaged sections of society. It empowers them and encourages them to be financially independent. The NGO has worked tirelessly to give young girls the confidence to fight discrimination and violence and to build their vision of a more equitable society. 

Akshara Centre trains young women from disadvatanged sections in various skills and helps with jobs

Swami Vivekananda said, “Soul has no sex, it is neither male nor female. It is only in the body that sex exists, and the man who desires to reach the spirit cannot at the same time hold sex distinctions”. Following the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, Akshara works to empower women and envisions a world free of gender-based discrimination. To support Akshara Centre, you can donate here.


PRADAN which stands for Professional Assistance for Development Action was set up in 1983 by two young professionals Deep Joshi and Vijay Mahajan. They took a novel approach to poverty eradication and empowerment of the youth of India. They came up with the idea of engaging educated youth in rural development activities, thus creating the framework for a symbiotic relationship between the young in urban and rural India. 

PRADAN believes that poverty eradication and empowerment the downtrodden can happen through the youth of India.

PRADAN, with its vision to see a society free from poverty, embodies Swami Vivekananda’s teaching “So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense, pays not the least heed to them.” To support PRADAN, you can donate here.

Purkal Youth Development Society

This Uttarakhand-based NGO focuses on educating underprivileged children and youth of India, predominantly from remote and underdeveloped areas. The NGO ensures that underprivileged youth get the required support and guidance for their career and beyond. The NGO’s founder GK Swamy saw the rural area of Purkal in Uttarakhand being swallowed up by poverty, unemployment and addiction and decided to set up the initiative to give children a future different from their parents. 

Purkal Youth Development Society ensures that underprivileged youth get all the support and guidance for their careers and livelihood

In consonance with Swami Vivekananda’s teaching, GK Swamy began an after-school programme for students from cowsheds in the village. The movement grew and in 2008, a fully equipped school was established to impart education to the youth. It provides quality education and holistic care from Grade I to XII to children (predominantly girls) with potential and from underprivileged families in the region. The NGO has taught and trained hundreds of children and youth, enabling them to pursue their dreams. To support Purkal Youth Development Society, you can donate here.

Udayan Care

With targeted intervention in education and skill development, Udayan Care has provided support to thousands of youth. It provides them an opportunity to pursue their dreams. The NGO has also played a pivotal role in advocating the rights of the youth of India through various interventions. 

Udayan has enriched the lives of over 25,000 youth from underprivileged and disadvantaged backgrounds

Udayan has enriched the lives of over 25,000 youth from underprivileged and disadvantaged backgrounds. What started from a small home for abandoned and orphaned children in Delhi, the NGO has spread its footprint across the country with multiple interventions operational in several states. One of its programmes is focused on providing IT and vocational training to the youth of underprivileged sections. It empowers them through digital literacy and job-oriented skills training. The program was developed with the core belief that skills improve employability. To support Udayan Care, you can donate here.

Salaam Bombay Foundation

With its focus on helping disadvantaged youth complete their education, Salaam Bombay Foundation has ushered in a bright future for countless adolescents. Set up in 2002, this NGO has been playing a vital role in reducing the rate of school dropouts through various school leadership and after-school programmes. 

 Salaam Bombay Foundation focuses on educating the youth in Mumbai and beyond

The Salaam Bombay Foundation specifically focuses on educating vulnerable youth who are prone to dropping out of school to support their family income. And in doing so, the NGO has played a significant role in protecting the youth of India from the clutches of illiteracy. The foundation’s programmes started from 230 schools in Mumbai and grew to over 15,000 schools in Maharashtra alone training over 60,000 teachers. To support Salaam Bombay Foundation, you can donate here.

Milaan Foundation

Milaan Foundation stands as one of the most significant organisations working for the empowerment of young girls in India. The NGO has impacted the lives of over 40,000 girl students in over a decade and continues to expand its programmes across the country. 

Milaan has done great work in the field for the youth of India

The NGO believes in ensuring education for girls as a catalyst to enable women to become agents of social change. This will also lead to their development and economic growth. Milaan focuses on educating adolescent girls from marginalized communities as the cornerstone of its ‘Girl Icon’ programme. The organisation truly believes in Swami Vivekananda’s quote “Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached,” And it is on its way to providing young girls with education, leadership and skill development until it reaches its goal. To support Milaan Foundation, you can donate here.


Bhumi, founded in 2006, envisions a poverty-free India and plans to fulfil this vision by providing quality education to the underprivileged youth of India so they can go on to become contributing members of society. 

Bhumi's contribution in developing the potential of youth has been immense

The NGO, with the help of its vast volunteer network, aims at providing holistic education and livelihood to over 5,000 underprivileged youth. Bhumi, in following Swami Vivekananda’s tenets of inclusion and equality, has engineered a framework where people from different walks of life can come together for the betterment of the less privileged. To support Bhumi, you can donate here.

Pratham Education Foundation

Set up in 1995, Pratham stands as one of the most prominent NGOs working in the field of education and skill development. The NGO focuses primarily on improving the quality of education through high-quality but low-cost interventions. Although it was set up to provide quality education to children living in the slums of Mumbai, the NGO has metamorphosed into a pan-India organisation and touches the lives of thousands of children and youth.

Pratham gives vocational training to youth from economically disadvantaged sections of society

The NGO’s Pratham Institute provides vocational training to youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The Pratham Institute programmes are spread across the country, enabling the youth of India to access entry-level positions and placements in several vocations. To support Pratham Education Foundation, you can donate here.

Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences

Odisha-based Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences works for the betterment of underprivileged tribal children and youth through education. The NGO is home to over 30,000 students who receive the highest standard of education, nutrition and health care at their residential school. 

Kalinga is focussed on helping the youth in Odisha dream big and achieve their aims in life

Throughout his life, Swami Vivekananda stressed the importance of holistic education and in line with that vision, Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences has ensured that they cater to their students’ all-around development. The institution has focused heavily on giving students state-of-the-art facilities for sports, music and the arts. To support Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, you can donate here.

Vivekananda Youth Forum

The NGO has a wide array of interventions focused on providing education and healthcare to underprivileged children and youth. Vivekananda Youth Forum, in the last 35 years since its inception, has touched the lives of thousands. The NGO has made the teachings of Swami Vivekananda its founding principles. 

The Vivekananda Forum has touched the lives of thousands of youth spread over many years

May it be its flagship Soup Kitchen programme or project Srujan, the NGO has strived to ensure that young India receives all the support it needs to flourish. From skill development and non-formal education to its efforts in providing vulnerable street children quality education, the NGO has supported youth throughout their development journey. To support Vivekananda Youth Forum, you can donate here.


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