AROH, an acronym for ‘A Ray of Hope’, is fulfillment of a dream which I saw when I was just a child studying in school.
“My father sold it” these words from the poor little girl, when I dubiously enquired her about the pullover, I gave her the previous chilly December morning changed my perspective towards life. The event triggered my motto for life to ‘Not Give the Fish but to Teach them Fishing’ and acted as the seed of inception for AROH Foundation, my social venture to help the poor and needy how to ‘fish and fend for themselves’.
If entrepreneurship is a difficult life, social entrepreneurship can be more difficult, especially for a woman in India. I had to take up a preset norm for a woman in India to get married and get secured financially through my entrepreneurial publishing venture for a decade, before I could finally take the plunge and register AROH Foundation as a charitable society in August 2001. AROH started off as a research & strategic expert institute but soon the ardor to be working right at the grassroots, directly with the underprivileged took over. There were more challenges waiting for me, from exhausting funds, continuous disappointments of proposal rejections, I was on the verge of shutting down AROH when in February 2009 I received the approval for the first Skill Training project of Government of India. That was the real beginning of AROH Foundation, and my dream to serve our people coming into reality.
Since then, AROH has grown leaps and bounds. During its journey of 20 years, AROH has been successful in positively transforming more than 5 Lakh lives through its multi sectoral programs in 18 states of India. Women’s empowerment has been a cross cutting theme and focus in all its endeavours. The Foundation has impacted lives of more than one lakh women through various interventions. Reaping its rich demographic dividend, AROH has so far trained more than 25,000 youth and engaged them in jobs and self-employment. AROH Reformed teaching – learning methodologies and holistic development for 50,000 poor children and also helped the economy by employing nearly 200 full time people in the organization. It is now hailed for its pioneering working for large scale CSR projects and flagship Government Schemes.
I feel proud to be able to nurture a good team by inculcating commitment and sincerity towards work as strong values for the organization. Keeping a pace with time, use of technology, placing holistic welfare policies and aiming sustainability has been our USP in the run and which eventually established AROH as one of the creditworthy NGO amongst stakeholders both nationally and internationally.
This has not been just my journey, but of everyone else’s too, who in between got along, supported us and got impacted. I am grateful to be a small part of change in people’s lives and restoring humanity within humanity.
Dr Neelam Gupta
Founder President & CEO- AROH Foundation
Global Goodwill Ambassador, (accreditions)