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Oxfam Australia's partner Chetna Mahila Vikas Kendra (Chetna), in Pune, India, is working to reduce domestic violence against women and educate women about their rights under India's new domestic violence legislation. As well as holding workshops, staging street plays, producing illustrated information booklets and running a legal centre, Chetna also helps strengthen community support systems by training community


While India is experiencing rapid economic growth, the gap between rich and poor is growing with more than 300 million people in poverty. We believe we can play a lasting role in solving this injustice.

For more than 50 years we’ve been building a better life for India’s poorest communities Oxfam India, an autonomous, Indian organisation implements our programs through 57 partner organisations in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Fighting for workers’ rights

Many workers are living in poverty even though they have paid jobs, often enduring low wages in appalling conditions.

For example, India’s stone quarry workers are among the world’s most disadvantaged people, breaking rocks from dawn to dusk for a dollar a day. Our partner SANTULAN has helped them realise their rights to education, health and housing.

The waste pickers of Pune are another group who, with the help of one of Oxfam’s local partners, are banding together to improve their working conditions and gain recognition for the environmental importance of what they do.

When we were young, the only choice we had was to break stones. Now our children will not have to break stones. They will go to school and … have a better life than ours.

Janabai Babu Chaugula, stone quarry worker, Pune

Addressing domestic violence

According to UN estimates, up to 70% of married women in India aged 15–49 are victims of beating, rape or coerced sex.

Through Oxfam India’s partners, we’re providing shelter, legal aid, medical aid and counselling to victims of violence and raising awareness of legislation to safeguard women from domestic violence.

For example, Oxfam’s partner Chetna is educating women about their rights under India’s new domestic violence legislation by holding workshops, running a legal centre, and offering counselling and legal support. They’re also working with police, judges and service providers to make sure that the legislation is implemented in a way that protects women’s rights.

Defending indigenous rights

India’s indigenous tribal communities are dependant on land, forests and rivers to make a living but often their right to land is violated. We work to make sure their voices are heard and their rights are respected.

For example, Oxfam’s partner Laya is providing legal support to empower adivasi communities in Andhra Pradesh to secure access to their land, and helping them to use sustainable agricultural practices and alternative energy sources such as solar power and bio gas.

Responding to emergencies

Most states in India are disaster prone and frequently experience earthquakes, floods or droughts. When natural disasters strike, we provide life-saving assistance to people in need.

In the past few years we’ve helped tens of thousands of people affected by floods in Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra and continue to help people devastated by the 2004 Asian tsunami. We also help people to prepare for disasters.

Map of India

Fast facts

Population living below the poverty line:
26.1% (total population: 1.028 billion)
Life expectancy at birth:
71.17 years (women), 66.28 years (men)
Adult literacy rate:
53.7% (women), 75.3% (men)
Under-five child mortality:
85 deaths/1,000 live births
Percent of households with access to safe drinking water:
62.3% (1991 census)
People living with HIV and AIDS:
5.7 million

Source: UNDP, CIA World Factbook, 1991 and 2001 Government of India census