Leadership Team

“We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” - Mother Theresa

Khagga Venkat Rao

Founder & Managing Trustee

Ever since we started our organization, ARUNODAYA TRUST has stood for and with the people at all times. The board and field staff always have ARUNODAYA TRUST’s mission and values in mind, and they work in close collaboration and partnership with all stakeholders, keeping people’s welfare close to their hearts. ARUNODAYA TRUST has been working with and for the most downtrodden members of society for over three and a half decades.

Generally, one would start the foreword with words like “It gives me immense pleasure… “,but the presentation of this annual report poses a great challenge to me and mixed emotions. It makes me reflect upon the crises we have gone through and reflect critically on whether we have responded to them well and on time. Could we have done more? The pandemic is certainly not over yet, and several unfinished and semi-finished tasks remain.

Still, I must admit that the past year has been greater in terms of satisfaction levels than the year 2019-2020. The unexpected, the unprecedented, and the unprepared jolted us completely, and we have been in a constant learning process. This has enabled us to tide over the crisis to a large extent. Though there is a fear of the third wave looming large in our minds, we know for sure that we will be able to respond to new situations with even more energy and better strategies.

The facts and figures in this report present a realistic picture of the measures we have taken to support the communities in terms of immediate relief and long-term strategies. At times during the past year, we fell behind a few of the milestones agreed upon, but we never forgot our mission and vision. We are pleased to have kept pace with the overall achievement of the objectives as per the MoUs/agreements with our financial partners. Whenever we could not keep up our promises due to extraneous compelling circumstances, we communicated with our partners on a regular basis and requested extensions.

A great thing that happened was the many responses and generous contributions we received from across the world, and the significant togetherness we have built among our communities and international partners.

Overall, our achievements could be summarised as:

  • immediate crisis relief through the distribution of essential commodities;
  • increasing focus on awareness and Covid-appropriate behavior, including distribution of masks, sanitizers, and soaps;
  • continuous awareness generation in general and on Covid-related aspects in specific; • livelihood activities in terms of cash-for-work and income generation units;
  • mass mobilization towards vaccination.

Our key strengths have been demonstrated to be our cultural team MELUKOLUPU, which was constantly on the move, the Women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs), who never stopped saving for the future despite the adverse conditions, and the Village Development Societies (VDS), who continued to invest in and gain the cooperation of their community members and the government. And of course, our grassroots level field staff never showed any fear of being in close contact with the people during the pandemic, even when some of them contracted the virus in spite of precautions.

The drawbacks are in the field of education and capacity building. Though we were able to continue our in-person capacity-building work once we had adjusted to Covid precautions, we have not been able to do as much as desired in the field of education due to the specific education challenges that resulted from the pandemic. This leaves us with a sense of guilt and hence, greater determination to do more in the future for children and youth. I am grateful to our partners around the world who came forward to help and support our work, many times proactively and without any formal applications, in spite of the worldwide struggle for mobilising funds. This is where our belief in humanity and universal brotherhood has proved and improved our mutual understanding. A big THANK YOU to all those compassionate and concerned souls.


Trustee & Chief Administration Officer

In our foreword we pointed out the grey areas and lapses, thereby highlighting the core areas of focus for the future. We are happy that we could succeed in areas like awareness generation, health, and sanitation to a large extent, and in areas like livelihood improvement and arrest of migration to some extent. Other areas also deserved our full attention, but due to the circumstances beyond our control and scope, we were unable to pay sufficient attention to areas like vaccination of all target communities, care of the children and youth in all respects, immunization, and livelihoods. Towards the end of the reporting year, we started our efforts towards the vaccination of all target communities, the surrounding areas, and the cultural troupes of Arunodaya Trust, under the guidance and mutual support of financial partners. The experience has told us that though initially reluctant to undergo vaccination due to a number of misconceptions, people are gradually adopting a positive attitude towards vaccination and their response is good. Definitely, we need to increase and continue our efforts until all eligible target communities are vaccinated.

The most important and critical group that needs more attention than ever are children and youth, who have unfortunately been neglected and left behind in these pandemic times. The World Bank recently stated that the Covid pandemic has created the worst crisis to education and learning in a century. With the closure of all educational institutions including vocational training institutes, the age group is nowhere where it rightly should be. Even now, when we are slowly moving back to normalcy in many fields, we do not dare to open educational institutions. The results are disastrous, to say the least. Though online classes are going on, many children in the rural areas don’t have access to these and have been forced to work or get married, issues we have been fighting relentlessly since ASSIST’s inception. It brings tears to our eyes to see these social ills returning. On our own, we have not been able to perform much in this area, as these issues are interrelated with several factors, including the policy decisions of local governments. We promise to come up with better strategies to deal with these child-related issues in the near future. Coming to immunization, studies point out that immunization schedules are badly affected across the country, and our target areas are no exception. While the whole health sector is focusing on the pandemic, there are no supplies to deal with the regular immunization of children and pregnant women. This is also the case with several non-covid chronic patients.

Even where supplies and facilities are available, parents are reluctant to take their wards to the immunization centers out of fear of contracting the virus. As a result, children are in the most dangerous situation of contracting not only Corona but also non-contractable and vaccine-preventable diseases. This is very alarming, and Arunodaya Trust will continue its efforts toward streamlining the regular immunization program. Most of the factors related to the spread of the pandemic to greater areas are linked with migration and livelihoods. People in the target communities are forced to migrate for better and greener pastures. This has been a challenging area for ASSIST and we have therefore focused on providing better livelihoods in the local surroundings of the people concerned. We do realize however that our efforts are not in commensurate with the problem on hand and that we will need to intensify our activities in this area. While taking pride in our achievements, we understand that we have a long way ahead of us. And we assure you that we will move forward steadily on our development path, together with the people’s organizations in the villages, local authorities, our field staff, advisors, and financial partners, towards our ultimate goal of achieving ideal communities.


Chief Advisor

Naga Ratnam, a champion for child rights and humanitarian response, is leading program implementation at Arunodaya Trust including evaluation, and technical support, multi-sectoral program development & humanitarian response for almost two years across various themes. She demonstrates the capacity to secure access, undertake longer-term associations with CSOs, and develop evidence-based strategies on various issues affecting the lives of most marginalized children and their families in some of the most challenging contexts. She is enthusiastic about bringing lasting changes in the lives of the less privileged and their communities by ensuring their equal access to social, gender, economic and civil rights delivered through a high-performance & values-based organization, innovative programming, and partnerships for scale..