India is a fascinating country animated with traditions and culture, full of vibrant colours, chaotic cities, rural villages and rich aromas. It’s a country that will amaze you and awe you in more ways than one, and while visiting India can be rewarding it can also be quite challenging at the same time.

One of the main challenges we face when visiting India is the exposure to some of the country’s harsh realities, for example the fact that roughly 400 million Indians live in poverty and earn less than $1.25 per day. While one side of India presents us a with a postcard image of Mughal buildings and scenic landscapes, the other side presents us with inequality and destitution.

However, there are many in the country that are lifting their communities out of these kinds of hardships and paving a path for an improved India. An India that is bridging the inequality gap and creating economic opportunity for the country’s vulnerable. Here are 5 social enterprises doing exactly that, providing opportunity to the Indian people, and you can support the work they do while travelling through this captivating country.

 

Bombay to Barcelona Café – Mumbai

Founded by former street child turned famous author Amin Sheikh, the Bombay to Barcelona Café is a social enterprise that supports disadvantaged youth in Mumbai by providing employment opportunities and supporting partner NGO Snehasadan. After a struggling youth on the streets of Mumbai Amin became inspired to help others avoid the same fate and recently opened the café, with the aim to provide equal opportunity to the youth of Mumbai and help them to reach their full potential.

Tea at this evening at #bombaytobarcelonalibrarycafe :)) #aminbombay #aminmumbai #aminsheikh ##B2BLC

A photo posted by AMIN SHEIKH (@aminbombay) on

Salaam Baalak Trust – Delhi

Salaam Baalak Trust is a non-profit and non-governmental organisation providing care and support to street and working children in Delhi and NCR. The organisation runs daily walks guided by young professionals who were once street kids before being trained as local guides, giving them the opportunity to improve their communication and speaking skills and increase their opportunity to work in the tourism industry. The walks cover off-track Delhi, venturing through narrow alleys and backstreets, giving guests an insight into the lives of Delhi’s inhabitants. All donations support the generous community work of the Salaam Baalak Trust.

Sheroes Hangout – Agra

Sheroes Hangout is a remarkable social enterprise that proves to us all that there is triumph over hardship. The café is run by female acid attack survivors, providing opportunity for many women in the community to reintegrate into Indian society after suffering devastating assaults. Sheroes Hangout not only gives these women a place where they can feel confident and empowered, it is also a place that helps to raise awareness about acid attacks in India and provides support to those who need it most.

#Sheroes #Fighters #AcidAttack #laughter #bestfriends #Rupa #Ritu

A photo posted by StopAcidAttacks (@stopacidattacks) on

Hope Café – Kolkata

The Hope Café in Kolkata is a café that provides training opportunities to underprivileged and vulnerable people in the community. The café runs in collaboration with NGO Hope Kolkata Foundation who works to provide services such as education, medical & health care, life skills training and shelter. The cafe also has an in-house boutique where you can purchase a range of fair trade handicrafts providing employment opportunities to the women that the Hope Kolkata Foundation supports.

Rural Odyssey – Delhi

Rural Odyssey is a social enterprise that promotes responsible and community based tourism in northern India. They develop authentic cultural experiences for travellers, which incorporates the lives of some of India’s most rural communities. They aim to share their incredible culture, music, crafts, art forms and much more, while also contributing to the social end economic benefit of the local people. Take an off-the-beaten-path tour and immerse yourself into the real India.