History

CARE in India grew out of a vision of ending poverty and social injustice, and it has been working in India for over 65 years. CARE came to India in June, 1946 when one of its co-founder, Lincoln Clark, signed the CARE Basic Agreement in New Delhi at the Office of Foreign Affairs. The agreement was limited to contributions of technical books and scientific equipment for universities and research institutes. In November 1949, the first Chief of Mission, Melvin Johnson, arrived in India to establish operations. Subsequently on the invitation of the then President of India, he developed a CARE India Food Package that caused a renegotiation of the CARE Agreement to include importation of food through Indo-CARE Agreement on 6 March 1950. The CARE Office during 1950’s in Delhi was a hutment (a long, thin building) located in Janpath, Connaught Place. At one end of the building was the Australian High Commission to India (A.K.A. Embassy). At the other end was the Delhi Press. CARE was sandwiched between the two in a two-room office. The Government of India (GOI) rented the space to us for 50 rupees per month, approximately $10. The CARE office consisted of the office manager, the secretary, two clerks, a messenger, and a driver. We had three additional offices and warehouses in India located in Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta — each office administered by an Indian national. The initial programmes those days included assistance to educational institutions, relief camps and assistance to hospitals in form of books, laboratory equipments, tools supplies etc. When the Mid-Day Meal (MDM - school lunch) program started in 1960, state offices were established and the staff in Delhi and state offices increased. Since 1960’s CARE has been supporting government’s school feeding programs. CARE has been providing nutritious food for the beneficiaries of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) on the request of GOI since 1982. CARE supported the Government's ICDS in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. In 1998-99 the quantum of food support in India was worth Rupees 300 crores. The respective state governments had contributed towards the administrative cost so that CARE carried these programs smoothly in their respective states. As a part of support from USAID, CARE implemented a long term project named Integrated Nutrition and Health Project (INHP) from 1996 till 2010 and reached to about 1297 blocks in nine major states of India. Recognized worldwide for its contribution in disaster response and rehabilitation operations, CARE in India has supported the efforts of Government of India and individual state governments as and when major disasters occurred in the country. CARE has provided relief to several natural disasters since 1966 with Jammu and Kashmir floods 2014 and Hud Hud in Andhra Pradesh being the most recent. Some of our efforts include response to flood relief in West Bengal in 1979, cyclone in Andhra Pradhesh in 1977 and in 1996, and earthquake relief in Latur, Maharashtra in 1993, and Odisha super cyclone in 1999. The list of our efforts to bring smiles back on the faces of those who lost all hopes during disasters is long. CARE India has made a considerable shift in its programming approach over the years. From direct service provision to enabling poor and vulnerable groups, CARE India has evolved into a rights-based organisation in order to address underlying causes of poverty. Our focus is explicitly on the well-being, social position and rights of women and girls from tribal and Dalit communities (Key Population). CARE India’s current ‘Programme’ approach stems from a redrawn vision, under which, working with partners on projects has been overlapped with holistic, long term, deep impact “programmes” that work directly with key populations to ensure that the root causes of poverty and marginalisation of people, particularly poor women and girls, are tackled strategically and collaboratively. While we believe we have a lot to feel proud of, we also recognise that today in India, there are more absolute poor and malnourished than it was 65 years ago! Recognising that CARE India continues its transition seeking more appropriate paradigms of development to ensure that we remain a catalyst for change and contribute towards seeking a world of hope, tolerance and social justice, where poverty has been overcome and people live in dignity and security.