NGOs or Non- Governmental Organizations as everyone is almost aware of is that it is a type of non-profit organization that operates independently without the rules and regulations bestowed by government on them. It carries out various types of activities for the needy and underprivileged to help them sustain their livelihood in society. In a nutshell, NGOs act towards boosting the social status through their variety of charity works -on-premise or through online donations, whatever seems to be an effective method in the situation. Though these are independent organizations, these bodies might even work in a collaborative manner to achieve their goals.
NGOs are not just into simple social work. They work to make people aware about the condition of the society and address various concerns and issues that are the social evils and should be eradicated from root.
The idea behind the formation of NGOs in India started a long way back when people used to help each other voluntarily or have small clubs or associations where the residents or people came with their grievances. Even these communities used to help out in time of some major natural disasters such as flood, earthquake, drought etc. Thus, with passing time and under the influence of various reform movements, the birth of these organizations took place during the pre-independence era. These organizations were liberal and were not restricted by caste, creed, colour or religion. Their thoughts and ideals were focussed towards the development of society. Many NGO platforms were incorporated under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi with the names such as Sewa, Disha and many others. NGOs work for various causes like prohibition towards child labour, poverty, environment conservation, wildlife conservation, human rights. There are a number of NGOs for education, for women empowerment, sanitation, health and nutrition etc.
Let us have a look at some of the areas where NGOs have played exceptional roles from time to time.
- NGOs have played a major role in inculcating the importance of education especially women’s education in the country. People in the rural areas and during the beginning of 20th century were pretty apprehensive about educating women. They felt that educating them was just a waste of time as they had to marry and stay under the supervision of their husbands. But, time changed everything. People became aware that women education holds the same importance as men’s. Educated women are a mark of a developed country. Keeping them in shadow of illiteracy and ignorance can lead to disastrous results. With the various awareness programs organized by NGOs or any such social community, masses are now aware how beneficial is the education for girls or other backward classes.
- NGOs have played a major role in establishing women empowerment across India and giving equal opportunities to them in any social or economic platform. It has helped women in benefitting from resources and earn wages for their work. Women empowerment has created a sense of stability in women who used to feel inferior to men in society.
- NGOs have equally contributed to improving the health condition of environment specifically in the regions who were highly involved in the disruption of nature’s beauty. The improper disposal of polythene bags or garbage, the illegal discharge of chemicals by the industries in river or ponds, the trend of defecating in open and many such issues have been addressed and evaluated by NGOs constantly.
- NGOs have played a significant role in conserving wildlife and forests that were disrupted by people constantly to fulfill their selfish needs. The cruel hunting and poaching of animals and deforestation on a large scale resulted in a misbalance of the biological ecosystem. Many species were left endangered and became rare with time. But, with the constant efforts from these NGOs, people were made aware about the importance of flora and fauna in our society and measures were taken in this regard and hunting and cutting down of trees have been banned consequently.
- They have been a source of great help for the people who were affected by natural calamities like flood, earthquakes, landslides etc. NGOs went there with relief funds and other essential materials to help in their time of need. They even setup medical camps to treat the people who have been injured during the incident.
- NGOs have also been a significant contributor in educating people about the need of hygiene and nutrition among people who are living in distraught condition. The lactating mothers are taught the need for good food and physical and mental health for themselves and their children. People were made aware of the harmful consequences of an untidy environment that gives birth to deadly diseases like malaria, dengue, typhoid etc.
- Many NGOs have worked in supporting disabled people by offering them employment, using their skills in the economic and social development of society.