Asia Initiatives (AI) formerly Friends of Swaminathan Foundation in Japan, is an international group of individuals and companies with a mission to support projects exemplifying best practices in poverty alleviation, sustainable development and environmental preservation in Asia. The New York entity is a registered tax exempt 501(C)(3) organization, while the Tokyo entity is registered under the Japanese NGO law. Asia Initiatives is inspired by Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, a scientist and a humanist, internationally known as the Father of the Green Revolution in Asia. TIME magazine has called him one of the 20 most influential Asians of the 20th Century. He is the recipient of 56 honorary doctorates, the Ramon Magsaysay Award, World Food Prize, Albert Einstein World Science Award, and several other honors. He is currently the UNESCO professor of Eco-technology and is the President of the Pugwash Conference of Science and World Affairs. All our projects conform to his philosophy of empowerment.
Our Mission: The mission of Asia Initiatives (AI) is to enable individuals and corporations in USA, Japan, India, and other countries to support projects exemplifying best practices in developing countries in South Asia in an effort to alleviate abject poverty.
Our Objective: The objective of AI is to support grassroots organizations in micro-level sustainable development in Asia in the areas of micro credit, bridging the digital divide, education, and capacity building.
- What We Do:
- We provide funds for sustainable enterprises via our Micro-Credit Bank (MCB) programs where loans are given to groups of people, mainly women, from villages. With access to capital, these people have proven themselves to be successful entrepreneurs, developing and expanding small business ventures of handicrafts, paper-making, garment production, and bio-technology. Over 200 MCBs have been established to date.
We encourage creativity by enabling villagers to develop business ideas to be submitted to our Micro Enterprise Capital Marketplace.We help create employment by providing financial support for the establishment of small businesses.We educate children and adults through Village Knowledge Centres/Village Resource Centres (VKCs/VRCs), literacy programs that are critical to village development. Donated computers enable schools to offer highly effective computerized learning programs. By supporting Mobile Crèches, we provide education to children of construction workers.We help disseminate critical knowledge for development: Over 3,500 used computers have been sent to VRCs/VKCs to provide critical information for farming, entitlements and health, as well as for literacy programs. The VKCs are computer-based knowledge centres with Internet connection and provide need-based static and dynamic information. A set of VKCs operating in a region are connected with a ‘hub’ in the centre as nodal point, which receives the generic information and adds value by converting it to locale-specific information. Need-based content creation is regularly done on the basis of the assessment and feedback from the local women and men who visit the centre. The local village people are trained in operating the computers and hardware maintenance.We support participatory planning and development in low income communities working alongside local people and community leaders. we have partnered with Arpana to help single mothers and old people in Molarbandh to build solid, safe homes. We are also partnering with URBZ in Dharavi Koliwada (in Mumbia) to develop a web based user generated system.We allocate over 95% of funds received to projects. 100% of the donations made for Micro-Credit Banks and VKC/VRC’s reach the target groups.