We have been working in village India for over 40 years to alleviate poverty & empower rural communities to build better, more sustainable livelihoods.


An India without absolute poverty where all people have the opportunity to live with dignity, free from hunger, deprivation and marginalisation.


Tackling the roots of poverty in India, embracing E.F. Schumacher’s concepts of economic development and social change through: Revitalising rural communities; promoting inclusive, harmonious, sustainable development; creating and sharing appropriate knowledge.


We are a value-based organisation. We seek to practise and promote the values of Head, Heart and Hands – taking inspiration from E.F. Schumacher, Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi. We find energy in Sambedana (Compassion), Sewa (Service) and Sangha (Cooperation).


Jeevika Trust was founded in 1970 under the name ‘India Development Group’, as a non-political, non-religious UK charity before becoming known as Jeevika Trust in 2005

For many years until 2005 our work was concentrated around the Schumacher Institute for Appropriate Technology & Rural Development (SIAT), a training campus based outside Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, which reached only a few neighbouring villages.  As we became more committed to extending our horizons across India, to expanding the impact of Schumacher’s ideas and of our mission to tackle the misery of rural poverty, we have increasingly channelled our support through carefully-selected grassroots Indian NGO partners.

In 2005 we adopted our charity title ‘Jeevika Trust’, turning our focus to south-west India, in particular to coastal areas affected by the devastating ‘Boxing Day tsunami’  of 2004. We found that taking our projects to the villages to address their challenges directly was more flexible and more effective than the training college. SIAT Lucknow was closed down, and our slogan ‘village livelihood in India‘ was born.

In the decade since 2005 India’s global profile – with its own nuclear, space and foreign aid programs, – has persuaded many people, not least the UK government and many private trusts & foundations, that India no longer needs financial aid to deal with its poverty. But the truth is that rural poverty remains endemic, out of sight and out of mind, with more people below the official poverty line (‘BPL’) in Indian villages than the entire population of Brazil – the world’s fifth most populous country.

Meanwhile Jeevika has continued to build its partnerships and village-based projects in Tamil Nadu and Odisha, and to analyse and address village needs under the broad headings of water & sanitation, health & nutrition, and women’s empowerment & income-generation.

Our new 3-year Operating Plan 2016-19 commits us to ambitious expansion in terms of new geographic presence, new partners and new technologies – all aiming to deepen and broaden our impact on the rural hardship and misery which successive Indian governments have failed to address. 


One of our founders was the ground-breaking economist E. F. Schumacher.

His insights, philosophy and values are integral to our work & have inspired our focus on appropriate technologies and our so-called tri-sector approach to development. His remains an authentic voice respected for its urgency, humanity, economic validity and good sense both in rural development and beyond.

More about Schumacher


We ask ourselves, and people often ask us, three leading questions about our work and our Mission – they need convincing answers:

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