Founded by Bill Drayton in 1980, today Ashoka is the world’s largest network of leading social entrepreneurs and ranks among the top 5 NGOs of the world. The first-ever social entrepreneur to be selected as an Ashoka Fellow was Gloria De Souza from India, in 1982, who revolutionised the system of learning in classrooms.

Impacting millions of people and communities through their work, our Fellows include people like Nobel Laureates Kailash Satyarthi (Bachpan Bachao Andolan) and Magsaysay awardee Anshu Gupta (Goonj), among several others. Currently, we have over 400 Ashoka Fellows in wide-ranging fields such as farming, education, human rights, finance, local media, and women and youth empowerment, across India.

Ashoka India functions as a collaborative network that supports and amplifies change by bringing together these changemakers.

In the course of our work, having witnessed the changing patterns in society over close to three decades, and the way our problems are increasing at a pace faster than we can solve them, we have realised that to truly make things better for everyone we need to head towards a world where everyone is a changemaker. And just like social entrepreneurs, the world needs everyone to start practising skills like empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving.

To this end, we believe that changemaking has to start young, and through our programs like Youth Venture, Changemaker Schools, and Health and Nutrition, we find, develop, and support young changemakers, enabling them to be role models in their communities, and give them the skills to thrive in our changing world.

Our office also serves as the regional hub for Ashoka’s activities in South Asia. Find out more about our work in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. And to know more about our activities around the year, do read our latest annual report.

Our Programs


Adults today who started something in their teens are four times as likely to be C-level leaders and five times as likely to be founders. This will become exponentially more so as the world tips fully into an ‘Everyone a Changemaker’ future.

Ashoka India’s Youth Venture program is cultivating and equipping an ecosystem that supports youth to be changemakers. We have helped hundreds of young people (12-20 years old) to have their own dreams, build teams, and change their world (school, community). Since April 2015, we have elected over 140 Youth Venturers across the length and breadth of India.





Through their initiatives, Youth Venturers are role models in their community, proving that it is possible to be actively engaged and to Lead Young. Beyond their immediate surrounding, they also convey their message of change by participating in large outreach events in India.

Ashoka Youth Venturer, Saleha Khan, Age 17
Ashoka Youth Venturer, Saleha Khan, Age 17

Ashoka Youth Venture builds partnerships with educational institutes, youth organisations, and state governments to help support young people. It creates national amplification platforms so that young people can spread their ideas and get support from experienced mentors.

Every year Ashoka Youth Venture holds a number of Young Changemaker Days, workshops and events to trigger ideas in young people which can lead to social enterprises and inspire passionate students.

Being a Youth Venturer is life changing: One knows that one has the most valued set of skills in an everything-changing world; that one is a changemaker.


Venture is the mechanism through which Ashoka searches and selects the world’s leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows. It remains the flagship program under which Ashoka was founded and remains at the heart of Ashoka's strategy.

Ashoka supports system-changing new ideas in the hands of entrepreneurial individuals across sectors. To learn more about our criteria and selection process, see here. India acts as the hub for election of Fellows across India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and invites you to nominate social entrepreneurs throughout the year. 

Our diverse network of over 550 Fellows in the region has had significant impact on systems and lives of citizens.



Ashoka offers modest need-based stipends to support personal financial costs of Fellows for three years. More critically, Ashoka India leverages learnings from our rich global network to act as a strategic thought partner and help Fellows find the most efficient way to drive systemic change.

With the insight that the ability to drive transformational impact is directly proportional to the ability to recruit and nurture changemakers, Ashoka India creates online and offline spaces to enable Fellows to draw from their peers and reframe the way they lead, organize and strategize to grow their ideas in a fast-changing world. Our creatively designed ‘Framework Change’ workshops, ‘Reframing Journeys’ and webinars are designed to help Fellows ‘see’ differently, so that they can ‘do’ differently.




 The new paradigm for growing up and education is: Every child must master cognitive empathy, and every teen must be practicing changemaking.
Ashoka Changemaker Schools is a global network that that aims to fill the gap between universal access to education and real, productive learning. Where the past few decades have shown remarkable progress in getting our children to schools, we also have to equip them to reach their full potential at school.

Changemaker Schools is taking this on in powerful and unique ways, leading innovative solutions that positively change how children learn (through play, peer-learning, arts, etc.) and what they learn (citizenship, changemaker skills, financial literacy, etc.). Changemaker Schools often works with teachers, government officers and children to enable them to play a larger role in the change process.

We run on the understanding that all children should have access to a learning system which is contextual, self-paced and dynamic. An education system which has different approaches, enables connectivity and nurtures basic values. 

In India, the Changemaker Schools Program was launched towards the end of 2014 and in almost two years we have a network of 18 Changemaker Schools in India, and one in Nepal. These schools have demonstrated changemaking in their environments and all of them have impacted their communities in some form.

Ashoka India Changemaker Schools has also developed the Changemaker Growth Card, an indicator for school institutions to assess whether their students are developing the four essential skills of Changemaking – empathy, leadership, teamwork, and creative problem-solving. The data gathered from the Growth Card helps them discover their strengths and get powerful insight on where their youth perform within Changemaker skills.

We want to come together as a collective - leveraging our complementary strengths and networks - to shift the goal post of education and how young people grow up in India.  In the next few years, our aim is to build strong partnerships with governments, teacher colleges,  publishers so we can come together and prepare our children to thrive in our fast-changing world.

*We are not electing new Changemaker Schools at the moment. We will make an announcement when we are opening applications again!

Health and Nutrition

Nourishing Schools has been developed by Ashoka India’s Health and Nutrition Initiative in partnership with various stakeholders, to shift the paradigm in health by developing young changemakers who can take charge of their own nutrition and that of their communities.

Ashoka’s insight is that while nutritious feeding during the 1000-day window (the period from the conception of a child until two years of age) is crucial, it is also important to target children in their pre-adolescent and early adolescent years. These years offer a key window for shaping their lifetime habits and can promote healthy eating behaviors for later life, particularly when young girls become mothers. Therefore, we target children aged 9 to 14 years because these are the formative years of future community leaders.




Given the wide variety of factors that are linked to undernutrition, schools are seen as a strategic platform to target this age group, and to build multi-sectoral collaborations to improve nourishment and vitality. Children who are well nourished are more attentive, have higher attendance rates and get better grades. 
Schools are also an influential part of communities. They are oriented towards inculcating habits and life skills leading to behavioral change. The Nourishing Schools programme is combining the insights and expertise from Ashoka staff, Ashoka Fellows and other stakeholders in the field to design a scalable and holistic package of interventions.


health and nutrition


The initiative improves nutrition by focusing on various dimensions, such as improving the quality of midday meals and communicating nutrition messages through games.  The objective is to create a holistic package of interventions that can be implemented across schools by using a toolkit developed especially for schools. These interventions will also build the changemaking abilities of children and develop their ability to improve their own nutrition and the nutrition of their communities.

So far we have reached 25,536 school children between 9-14 years across 114 schools in Maharashtra, Assam, Haryana, Rajasthan and Puducherry. 


South Asia Representative/Global Partnerships, Leadership Group Member
Vishnu, a lifelong entrepreneur now leads Ashoka’s global teams on... ...more
India Leader - EACH
Sunish comes with two decades of leadership experience in international... ...more


Supriya Sankaran
Director, Venture and Fellowship
Supriya joined Ashoka India in 2010 as the Venture Manager. ...more
Jayalakshmi Jayanth
Build Team Manager, ITI
Jaya joined Ashoka in April 2015 as a part of ...more
Archana Sinha
Change Leader (Managing Director), Health and Nutrition Initiative
Archana Sinha leads the Health and Nutrition Initiative at Ashoka. ...more
Yashveer Singh
Director, Youth Venture
Yashveer has worked with International development organisations on strategy & ...more
Raghav Khemka
Change Manager
Raghav started his changemaking journey as a teenager and brings ...more
Bineesh Mathai
Partnership Leader
A strategic not-for-profit professional with an entrepreneurial approach, having 13 ...more
Prasanna Prasanna
Framework change Senior Intrapraneur
Exploring social impact and sustainable development. Expertise in Digital Marketing ...more
Rameez Alam
Change Manager V & F
Rameez believes the mysteries of human nature can be uncovered ...more
Nagendra Chandrashekar
Accounts Manager
Nagendra joined Ashoka in October 2010 and is the Finance ...more
Nikitha Varsha
Assistant Accounts Manager
Nikitha Varsha joined Ashoka as Assistant Manager for Finance & ...more

Connect with Ashoka India

Telephone - +918042745777
54, 1st Cross Road
1st Stage, Domlur
Bengaluru Karnataka 560071