About Us

Founded, in 1999, and chaired by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, the Pratichi Trust is committed to inclusive and effective development, particularly in combating illiteracy and uneven access to education in India, child nutrition, the lack of basic affordable healthcare, and the special disadvantages from which women and young girls suffer.

The Trust works to enhance capabilities, expand social opportunities, and enliven people’s agency through both humanitarian interventions, and action-oriented research. It has participated in public relief efforts during crucial national emergencies, such as the devastating Orissa super-cyclone (1999) and the Gujarat earthquake (2001). In 2003, the Orissa Project was expanded into the Pratichi Primary School, housed in a multi-purpose community centre in the Nagari (Kiada) village, Erasama block, Jagatsinghpur District, Orissa. For the cyclone-ravaged, high-illiteracy interiors, it was the only available educational facility. Within a year, the school had 115 students. The students were provided with lunch and certain health services, apart from an education. The school also started public libraries in neighbouring villages, a very successful adult literacy programme, and a teachers’ training programme for local community-run schools.

Humanitarian interventions, however, are only part of the Trust’s activities, which include empirical studies, dissemination of their findings, and initiating issue-based public deliberations. To further these initiatives, the Trust founded a small research team in 2001, at Santiniketan, West Bengal. Between 2001 and 2010, the team carried out several studies on public education, health, child nutrition and related matters, and organised a number of public discussions with parents, teachers, health practitioners, academics, public administrators, and other members of civil society.

With the expanded scope of its research team, the Trust elevated it to a research institute in 2011, called the Pratichi Institute. The Institute is based in Kolkata, but has worked extensively in Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand. The Institute and its researchers are in regular consultation with a body of advisers from various areas of expertise – academics of Partha Chatterjee and Sukanta Chaudhuri’s stature, primary school teachers, activists and public administrators. The Institute functions on the principle that the improvement of the quality of people’s lives requires not only policy changes and interventions, but the broader participation of ‘ordinary people’ in the making of public policy.