Nonprofit of the Week: Association for India’s Development (AID) – Courage, Commitment & Change
The Association for India’s Development is a volunteer movement promoting sustainable, equitable and just development by supporting grassroots organizations in India.
In a recent concert titled “Rendevouz with Shankar Tucker,” everyone in the audience, including myself, received a small bribe for our attendance – a Zero Rupee, designed to closely resemble a Fifty Rupees note. This valueless note, conceptualized by AID Director Satindar Mohan Bhagat, made me smile out of respect and admiration for the note's symbolic meaning as an anti-corruption tool in India.
The diversity of the audience struck me- ages varied from under one to over seventy, with a wide range of ethnicities and nationalities. All had gathered with a common goal: to express their love for India by supporting an organization dedicated to improving the lives of Indians. (All proceeds from the Washington, DC event would go to support grassroots projects in India.) This was my introduction to the Association of India’s Development, popularly called AID.
What started as heated discussions among grad school students on campus in 1990 is today a volunteer organization that spans the USA, India, Canada, Australia and the UK. AID is a nonprofit that prides itself in addressing the underlying causes of problems in India, rather than just help ease the symptoms. Within the first few years, AID went beyond its birthplace, the Washington DC Beltway, to start addressing issues such as poverty and corruption in India. According to AID founder Ravi Kuchimanchi, “The growth of AID Chapters in the USA resulted in a lot of human-hours, potential and money being directed towards work in rural India. By the turn of the millennium AID had over 100 projects in all the major states of India.”
Shyamala Gopalan, President of the AID DC Chapter said that she began volunteering when she was in grad school and "wanted to do more" with her time. Said Gopalan, "I learnt about AID through a friend and attended a session where the keynote speaker spoke about how a sustainable and organic agricultural livelihood was helping Tsunami victims in India. The more people I met, the more I was blown away with their passion to give back and make a difference. The best part for me lies in knowing that the choices I make through AID help the lives of people who live thousands of miles away.”
Here AID volunteers from all over the world over tell us how they were drawn to the organization:
Through the Association of India's Development, fans and friends of India all over the world are living out John F. Kennedy's famous request, “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
- Learn more about AID and volunteer with the organization.
- Donate to one of the many projects that AID supports.
- Locate a Chapter close to where you live and stay up to date with their projects and events
- Start 2014 with AID’s official calendar that capture India’s rare dance forms. Here’s a sneak peek if you want to order the calendar.