In 1990, two management professionals undertook an expedition of learning and discovery across the entire length of the Himalayan region of Northern India. They encountered neglected communities with high levels of poverty, food and water insecurity, depleting natural resources, diminishing culture, poor infrastructure and lack of basic services like healthcare and education. This experience proved to be the impetus that in 1995 saw the establishment of Pragya India, the first branch of the now global Pragya family, with a mission to address the substantial needs of remote and neglected communities in the Himalayas, and a vision of a brighter future for the region’s inhabitants.

From its early work on the ecological and cultural integrity of the Indian Himalayas, Pragya has since flourished programmatically and expanded geographically into an international federation of local Pragya bodies, bound by the same founding mission and core values. In 2000, Pragya won its first major award, the Whitley Gold Award for Nature Conservation. The year also saw the establishment of our first European presence, Pragya UK, to spread our message and garner international support for our cause. With communities in the Indian Himalayas impressed with our early conservation and cultural work and entreating us to widen our scope, the next five years saw a dramatic expansion of our work into new areas such as WASH, livelihoods, healthcare and education, and in 2005 Pragya won the Energy Globe Award (world category) for our innovative renewable energy work in the remote Himalayas.

The next major milestone came in 2006 as we expanded field operations beyond India for the first time, initiating new ventures in remote and neglected areas of Nepal. Addressing the desperate need of rural populations following a decade of civil war, Pragya in Nepal began delivering key projects in the areas of water and sanitation, healthcare, education and livelihoods – which continue today to form the mainstay of their work, focused on those rural communities devastated by the 2015 earthquake. In 2010, Pragya won the STARS Impact Award for our educational work.

Expanding further afield, in 2011 the Pragya family established its first African mission, Pragya Kenya. In keeping with the Pragya’s methods and purpose, Pragya Kenya set about serving the needs of neglected, isolated and nomadic communities in the arid and semi-arid northern counties and impoverished rural communities in western Kenya, undertaking extensive needs assessment and identifying water security, livelihoods and education as the most critical issues for engagement. The same year also saw the establishment of our North American communications and fundraising function Pragya US, tapping into the wealth of charity sector knowledge, global networking and philanthropic establishments the continent has to offer.

In 2012, Pragya was granted Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and in 2015 our pioneering disaster management model for the Himalayas was adjudged Risk Award top 20 (Disaster Risk Reduction), with the model’s innovative application of technology achieving further recognition the following year, winning the ICT for Mountain Development award.

The spread of programming expanded as well. By 2016, we were covering a large swathe of northern India and its disadvantaged populations, from the western state of Rajasthan to the eastern state of Assam. In 2018, our regional footprint in Asia was further enhanced with initiation of a programme to address issues around climate change and gender-based violence among the vulnerable populations residing on river-islands in Bangladesh.

The global Pragya family has achieved a tremendous amount over the last two decades, receiving national and international recognition along the way. We continue our journey now under our current programmes, as we strive to extend the benefits of development to neglected and deprived communities in the most remote corners of the world. If you’d like to assist us in our mission, we greatly welcome any donations.

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