Sightsavers India has won a coveted national award worth £615,000 for its inclusive education programme that helps children with visual impairments to go to school.
More than 3,300 non-governmental organisations applied for the HCL Grant, which supports NGOs that transform rural India through sustainable development in education, environment and health.
Sightsavers was recognised in the education category for its inclusive programme running in five states of India, which ensures children with visual impairments can be educated in mainstream schools.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh presented the award to Sightsavers India CEO RN Mohanty at a ceremony in Delhi.
“This is a big moment for us as an organisation, as 3,349 NGOs applied for this grant,” said Mr Mohanty. “We had to go through an incredibly rigorous process. With the help of the grant, Sightsavers India will be able to scale up its work for inclusive education.”
Sightsavers’ programme provides specialist training to teachers so they are able to teach children with disabilities, particularly students with visual impairments. Working alongside Indian government initiative Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), the programme aims to ensure children with disabilities are able to receive a quality education alongside their peers in mainstream schools.
Winning the HCL grant involved an eight-month selection process. Of the initial applicants, 49 NGOs were chosen for field investigation, where experts visited each project to evaluate the work. Sightsavers hosted field visits by four different HCL teams in Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha.
The other winners were Eleutheros Christian Society in the health category, and Keystone Foundation for its environmental work.