If you’re walking down the right path, and you keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress
— Barack Obama

Project RISHI (Rural India Social and Health Improvement) is a 501(c)3 non-profit whose mission is to promote the sustainable development of rural Indian communities. Project RISHI was established in 2005 at the University of California, Los Angeles. 11 years later, this non-profit organization has expanded to include 10 different university chapters across the United States. The University of Southern California RISHI chapter was founded in 2014, when three motivated students saw the need for a global outreach club that emphasized genuine, long-lasting change. 

Our Target Community

Naga Valadia is our partnering village, located in the Kutch region of Gujarat, India. 

size: 1300 people

primary occupations: farmer, seamstress,driver 

80% of the men chew or smoke tobacco

the adult literacy rate is 25%

the nearest doctor is more than 40 minutes away  



Women's Adult Literacy

The Problem

Although a school was built in Naga Valadia in the late 80s, there remains a dearth of illiterate middle age adults currently living in Naga Valadia. Literacy is important because it is consistently associated with higher wealth, decreased crime rates, improved health conditions, and smaller family sizes. Educating the adults of our village would provide them with opportunities they would not have had otherwise and improves their quality of life. 

Our Solution

Just one year after our initial visit to Naga Valadia, USC Project RISHI is implementing an women's literacy class by partnering with local college student volunteers. USCPR developed a unique curriculum, that combines both an e-learning interface with the traditional in-class model of learning. College volunteers will hold traditional classes as well as show USCPR's instructional videos. This model is a novel approach, especially in this population: rural Indian adults aged 40 and above. 

Tobacco De-addiction Campaign

The Problem

Tobacco usage in the village is  highly visible, especially for men. Most men start using tobacco in their teens and are addicted for their entire life. Some women also use tobacco in the form of a snuff known as "bajar". Many of the villagers seemed to understand that tobacco was generally bad for their health, but did not attribute the health problems of the village to tobacco use because those problems were so rampant.

Our Solution

USC Project RISHI started an Tobacco De-addiction Campaign in the village, mainly targeting the men of the village. USCPR gave school presentations to the youth about the dangers of tobacco and a presentation to some of the women of the village. Anti-tobacco posters were displayed around the village and a mural of the Hindu Deity Ganesha was painted where men tend to spit chewing tobacco. A few motivated men were given tobacco alternative products from the United States as part of a De-addiction Pilot Study. If these men are able to overcome their addiction with the help of the aides, we will expand our study to include more men.