MetLife Foundation awards milestone grant to American Friends of HelpAge India to improve conditions for Rural Elders

HelpAge India’s unique ‘Project Saksham’ will provide digital and financial literacy support to disadvantaged elders

Bangalore, 19th October, 2022 – In a bid to address the specific challenges facing vulnerable elders in some of the poorest parts of rural India, American Friends of HelpAge India (AFHI) has received grant support from MetLife Foundation of USD 1.3 million. This grant will support ‘Project Saksham’ and will be implemented in Bihar, West Bengal and Puducherry by AFHI’s partner organization, HelpAge India which has been serving the needs of India’s disadvantaged elders for over 44 years.

This project will enable HelpAge India to provide practical and comprehensive digital and financial literacy trainings to more than 16,000 seniors so that they can gain access to government benefit programs and use digital financial services in a secure and confident manner. HelpAge India will also provide comprehensive training and financial support to start or grow their economic activities as well as access to high quality primary health care services – a holistic model to ensure elder empowerment and dignity.

“American Friends of HelpAge India is very thankful to the MetLife Foundation for this milestone grant which will be implemented by HelpAge India and will tackle some key challenges facing elders in rural India in a holistic manner. This grant hugely compliments our efforts to galvanize greater support for India’s 138 million elders, 90% of whom are outside of the formal/organized sector and are often overlooked within the broader developmental narrative.” said Mr Pramod Bhasin, President, American Friends of HelpAge India.

“This is a unique project since it takes a 360-degree view of the various vulnerabilities facing rural elders in particularly low resource settings – these issues do not operate in a vacuum and need to be tackled in an inter-linked manner. The grant from MetLife Foundation will provide a boost to digital inclusion and equity – especially in terms of access to financial services, government linkages as well as livelihoods. HelpAge India’s Elder Self Help Groups will be the primary platform through which this project will be activated, with elder empowerment as the central focus,” said Rohit Prasad, CEO, HelpAge India.

“PNB MetLife strongly believes that both financial and digital literacy are essential to building a financially secure future for all. We value MetLife Foundation’s support to American Friends of HelpAge India and its partner HelpAge India, which will help bring these crucial services to the disadvantaged elders in rural India, who are amongst some of the most neglected segments of the populace. This innovative, practical and comprehensive approach combines financial and digital literacy with access to key government benefit programs as well as livelihood and healthcare support to provide elders in rural India with avenues for empowerment as they look to rebuild their lives after the pandemic.” said Ashish Kumar Srivastava, MD & CEO at PNB MetLife.

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