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Bridging the Gap

Phia Foundation believes in the equality, inclusion, empowerment and strong leadership of marginalised communities, especially women, and in transparent and responsive governance.

Stuck on the margins of society, below the poverty line and denied the education, healthcare and other essential services most people would take for granted – this is the reality many millions of Indian people face every day.

Parts of the population are disproportionately affected by a poverty driven by discrimination due to their caste, ethnicity, gender or religion. These groups are deprived of resources, services, opportunities and dignity.

Phia Foundation works for an end to discrimination against poor and excluded communities, supporting them to demand justice and hold institutions accountable, and ensuring they are protected from human rights violations.

Phia Foundation wants to see women and men have their say in decisions that affect their lives and supports them to access their rights to education, clean water and sanitation.

For these people, exclusion from society is not a choice but something that is forced upon them by prevailing social norms and values and means they can’t participate equally in development. Within these groups, women and children are the worst affected.

The Indian constitution and Indian law provides many services and opportunities for people across the country.

But these services often do not reach those who are most marginalised and deprived. Phia Foundation will work with local organisations and other groups to help people understand and claim their entitlements – whether that’s free education, employment or healthcare.

In modern India, where everyone should be entitled to an education, healthcare, clean water, access to sanitation and other basic services, this situation is no longer acceptable.

Empowering communities

Phia Foundation works with local organisations to address poverty by empowering excluded communities. We support them to hold institutions accountable and secure the resources they need and are due, and to ensure more equitable, democratic, sustainable, resilient and inclusive development.

We seek to build the capacity of excluded communities to engage with and participate in institutions of power and governance, by empowering them and strengthening their leadership and ability to claim their rights, and to ensure accountable governance.

We want an end to discriminatory practices against poor and excluded communities, and evidence that they can access justice and are protected from discrimination and human rights violations.

Our work will also focus on issues such as ending manual scavenging and ensuring women and girls are protected from violence.

We believe people in local communities across India should be able to speak for themselves and be heard by those who make decisions. We will work with people to help them to find their voices and make sure their families have the same opportunities as everyone else.

Campaigning and advocacy

Phia Foundation will work on advocacy, wider civil society platforms and thematic civil campaigns, but always in partnership with local organisations and in wider alliances.

We recognise that advocacy is required to change the structure that perpetuates poverty and injustice. We support work that empowers individuals and communities to work for change through evidence, improving governance, and making the system accessible and accountable.

As an Indian entity, Phia Foundation has a legal remit to play an active and direct role in facilitating and bringing organisations together on some issues, depending on the strength of civil society in that particular area.

Empowered to become leaders

Human rights abuses and violence against women are shockingly commonplace in India.

Phia Foundation supports organisations like Sakhi Kendra, which provides emergency shelter, helplines, counselling and legal aid for women affected by domestic violence in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

‘We want them to not only overcome their trauma but regain their confidence and self-esteem,’ says Sakhi Kendra’s Pushpati Wari.

‘We will stand with the victim or survivor until they get justice.’

‘We want them to be empowered and to become leaders.’

Sakhi Kendra also works at community level through street plays, training, seminars and exhibitions and campaigns at local, state and national government levels for better protection and access to justice for women.

‘After getting themselves organised they can get their rights from the government – get what they are entitled to. To avail and ensure their human rights – it’s all about that,’ adds Subhashini, a Sakhi Kendra team member