“Building people and institutions as resource centres for development innovations, scaling-up and impacting policy to enable the poor and marginalized communities for poverty reduction, self-reliance, and gender equity” – Vision of DHAN Foundation, 2014 Annual Report


Asia Initiatives recently had the honor of hosting founder and executive director of the Development of Humane Action (“DHAN”) Foundation, Mr. M.P. Vasimalai during his visit to New York. Founded in 1997, the DHAN foundation is headquartered in Madurai, Tamil Nadu and aims to enable poor communities through self-reliance, which resonates with Mr. Vasimalai’s underlying theme of working with the poor, as opposed to for the poor. In his discussions with Asia Initiatives, Mr. Vasimalai stressed human resource development and self-sufficiency in developing communities, which mirrors Asia Initiatives’ concept of Social Capital Credits (“SoCCs”) – SoCCs is currently being implemented into two of DHAN’s projects.

Mr. Vasimalai’s initiatives span over the past three decades – he was previously affiliated with PRADAN. His Gandhian values continue to appear in how DHAN conducts its responsibilities. Through the foundation’s efforts, over one million families have declared themselves to have escaped poverty. The below examples illustrate SoCCs’ impactful role in the foundation’s current projects:

Vaigai River Restoration Project: The holy river (currently victim to pollution and contamination) is in immense need of restoration. The implementation of SoCCs to drive this ecological reform invites a unique opportunity for SoCCs’ application towards an environmental cause.

Asia Initiatives & WomenStrong International Empower Madurai Project: SoCCs will be implemented through the project’s multiple components including social capital, governance building, livelihood, civic development, and health needs.

These steps are indicative of cross-pollination of developmental schemes between Asia Initiatives and DHAN Foundation that will continue to expand and reach more communities with time. In the process, countless individuals will be enabled through Mr. Vasimalai’s selfless resolve and SoCCs’ underlying goal. Asia Initiatives was enthralled to meet Mr. Vasimalai and hear about his determination firsthand. With SoCCs integrated in many of DHAN’s core functions, we look forward to working with DHAN towards a common goal.


– Rahul Sharma is a Volunteer at Asia Initiatives

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