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Deepalaya's logo

Deepalaya is the largest operating non-governmental organisation (Non-governmental organization|NGO) in India’s national capital state Delhi, working on issues affecting the development of the urban and rural poor in India, with a special focus on children.[1] Deepalaya’s official motive for its existence and work is the slogan ‘Every child deserves a chance’.

The organisation was founded in 1979, and since then it has seen a continuous growth in staff, beneficiaries and fields of activities. Deepalaya’s main areas of influence are the urban slums of Delhi, but inroads into rural development in the states of Haryana and Uttarakhand have been made as well. The essence of Deepalaya’s approaches is concisely inherent in the Chinese maxim ‘Give someone a fish and you feed him for a day; teach the person to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’, for Deepalaya similarly aims at triggering off sustainable development from within.

According to statistics, from 2009–2010, 23.18% of the organization’s total income is attributed to donations received and 52.37% of its total income consists of government grants.[2] HSBC India is an organization in the banking industry that too supports Deepalaya through donations and voluntary works. However, Deepalaya still runs a deficit in most of the years. In the aforementioned financial year, Deepalaya experienced US$236,741.42 in deficit.


From 1977 to 1979, three of the seven founding members met regularly, discussing how to launch a programme of education and reaching out to the poor. The thought process was derived from these three individuals, by name of Mr. T. K. Mathew, Mr. Y. Chackochan and Mr. P. J. Thomas. However, as the Societies' Registration Act in India requires seven individuals in order to found a society, there was a lack of founding members. This problem was quickly resolved by the agreement of Mrs. Grace Thomas, Mr. C. M. Mathai, Mr. Punnoose Thomas and Mr. T. M. Abraham to join hands with the initial three pioneering individuals. Regardless of bureaucratic obstacles and resistance, the "Deepalaya Education Society" was founded and the first school was started on 16 July 1979. There were only five children attending school, two teachers and an investment of Rupees 17,500 from the founding members. In these initial days the school focused on pre-school education.

In the course of time to the year 1985, the number of students increased to 133 with seven staff members. As the annual budget grew, the focus of Deepalaya moved to primary education. Parallel to this development, the contact to various national as well as international funding agencies was established. Since Deepalaya’s resource base grew due to these contacts, its programme could extend correspondingly. Deepalaya started reaching out to a larger number of slum dwellers through education, health, income generation as well as community development, thus stepping beyond mere education to ‘integrated development’. By 1992, there were 13,000 students being taught as well as 400 staff members involved.

According to Deepalaya’s publication "Yatra – The Institutional Memory", the core belief of the organisation in the success of community empowerment and building of self-reliance became crystallised into fundamental developmental paradigms in the organisation’s phase of consolidation in the 1990s. in 2000, Deepalaya’s scope had further extended to over 35,000 children, their families and communities.

Since 2002, the organisation has undergone major changes, for a new vision and mission had been formulated, which is now being pursued, its programme sectors have been restructured and it has become an international organisation with its offices in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Germany. In 2003, Deepalaya was appointed one of the NGOs for capacity building of smaller NGOs by REACH India. During the year 2005, Deepalaya became the largest operational NGO in the national capital state of Delhi, as it achieved the level of reaching out to 50,000 children, 76 slums, 84 villages in Mewat as well as 7 villages in Uttarakhand.


Deepalaya’s vision is very concisely uttered by its publications: "A society based on legitimate rights, equity, justice, honesty, social sensitivity and a culture of service, in which all are self-reliant."[3]


Deepalaya has clearly formulated its mission, consisting of three major parts. In "Yatra – The Institutional Memory" the mission is formulated as follows:

"We in Deepalaya commit ourselves to:

Continue to identify with and work along the economically and socially deprived, the physically and mentally challenged, starting with children so that they become educated, skilled and aware

Enable them to be self-reliant and enjoy a healthy, dignified and sustainable quality of life

And to that end, act as a resource to and collaborate with other agencies Governmental or Non-Governmental, as well as suitably intervene in policy formulation."

Gender equity[edit]

Deepalaya has started a Gender Equity Program that aims to provide educational opportunities to more girls, whom are underprivileged in the country.

Deepalaya has embarked on the Education for Girls Project (RDDEFG)[4] in September 2009. Education for Girls Project is supported by the Robert Duvall Children's Fund, which is another NGO that strives to "improve the living condition of children throughout the world". The project aims to provide girls with education opportunities by supporting them financially though the informal earlier stage of education, till they enter formal education after achieving certain education standard, "education is free thereafter" in the government school (deepalaya).


Deepayala’s flagship program Education strives to improve the literacy rate in India. In some places such as Mewat, the general literacy rate is only 33% and it is even worse for the females.Throughout the years, Deepalaya built 337 educational institutions where 50,000 receivers are educated via formal and non-formal education.

Through the joint assignment, Education for Girls,[5] it prompts fathers to protect their daughters’ rights and put them through schools for a more secured future.

Innovative methodology for education[6] of children at risk aims to toughen formal and transitional schooling programmes that inspire working children.


Deepalaya holds the belief of preventive care towards health of every individual. With the understanding of India government’s limitation to reach out to each and every individual well-being, the NGO has "Mobile Health Units" that visits households, educate them about diseases such as AIDS, and provide health care services to them at door-steps (deepalaya).

Currently, Deepalaya is involved in two health projects, A.P Dewan clinic and the Kalkaji Extension. The A.P Dewan clinic is funded by the Dewan Foundation Ltd, a UK based charity organizarion that focus on health and education; and the clinic has reached out to more than 7,000 patients till date (MBA Article Index).[7] With pre-natal and post-natal treatments provided, Deepalaya has also brought down significantly the cases of abortion and infant death.

Differently abled[edit]

Deepalaya stives to assist differently abled children and they strongly feel that they can still lead a perfectly normal life like their peers if they have access to different programmes which aids them in providing a means for themselves.

Deepalaya Special Unit in Sanjay Colony[8] is equipped with learning tools and different toys for them to engage in. There are special educators, speech therapist, physiotherapist, community mobilizer and occupational therapist.

See also[edit]

  • Non-governmental organization
  • Indian NGOs


  1. "Deepalaya Education Society, Delhi" (.jpg). Education World – The Human Development Magazine. Retrieved November 2006. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Deepalaya. (2010). Retrieved 31 January 2012, from Letz Change:
  3. Deepalaya. "Yatra - Institutional Memory" (.pdf). Page 50. Deepalaya. Retrieved 20 November 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Education. (2011). Retrieved 31 January 2012, from Deepalaya:
  5. Education. (2011). Retrieved 31 January 2012, from Deepalaya:
  6. Education. (2011). Retrieved 31 January 2012, from Deepalaya:
  7. Health. (2011). Retrieved 31 January 2012, from Deepalaya:
  8. Differently Abled. (2011). Retrieved 31 January 2012, from Deepalaya: