Press Statements

Appeal to Support Fellowship program to work with marginalised Indian Muslims

Appeal for Support ‘Misaal: Youth for Inclusive Development’ a Fellowship program for activists working with marginalised Muslim communities

1.                  Background: Muslims are fast becoming the most marginalised sections of Indian society – suffering exclusion in education, jobs, basic services and security, among others.  Yet there is only very weak government resort to protective or promotional policy tools for the section, even though such equal opportunity measures are widely used for other marginalised communities. In the absence of equalising measures, poorer Muslims especially are unable to access rights, entitlements and laws, keeping them trapped in inter-generational poverty and making them vulnerable to repeated violence. 

2.                  A strong civil society, made up of grassroots activists and development leaders, community based organisations (CBO) and state and national networks and platforms, all with a progressive rights-based orientation and focus, has been found (from experiences of successful civil society movements) to help overcome government failures. They also empower the excluded to better demand and obtain rights and entitlements. Such a civil society is largely absent among Muslims. And whilst donor agencies have invested much effort and resource in developing community based civil society for a section of the excluded, such effort for poor Muslims has been adhoc, at best. The idea of the fellowship program for Muslim activists and youth leaders, hopes to fill this gap.

3.                  The seeds of the idea was a pilot Centre for Equity Studies (CES) and Action Aid implemented in 2013 in Barabanki district, working to enable poorest Muslims there to mobilise for rights and entitlements, but particularly through the ongoing learnings from a collective intervention (since January 2014, by Aman Biradari - CES, Action Aid and Oxfam) in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts with violence survivors, to organize and empower them for obtaining legal justice and citizenship rights, besides working for inter-community dialogue. The outcome, in both cases, has been improved local capacity among poor Muslims, in the form of a CBO and a team of youth activists and volunteers, where very poor existed.

4.                    The planthen, is to support grassroots activists (including local social start-ups, CBOs, policy activists) working with poorer Muslim communities across India, to help mobilise the poor to enable change; obtain justice; access rights and entitlements; and better join the national mainstream – in other words, become empowered citizens! Coverage planned isdistricts, blocks and towns with large Muslim concentrations, prioritised in poorer northern/eastern states of UP, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam, but also open to other regions.

5.          What will the fellows do? 

-       Organise local communities of poorer and excluded Muslims (and other marginalised groups) in the areas they work; through public meetings and community dialogues; and training and awareness creation on pro-poor laws and entitlements, minority rights, secularism, and gender rights and methodologies, among others.

-       advocacy with state actors, for realization of rights; leveraging pro-poor laws and tools (such as Right to Information, Public Interest Litigation..), and other forms of public action.

-       engage with wider civil society (other NGOs, media and pro-poor networks) to advance the poors’ rights and claims over justice.  

-       Engage with markets, to identify and access potential opportunities for improved livelihoods choices for the poor, through micro-lending/finance

6.                  Resource Centre: Delhi-based knowledge, advocacy and mentoring hub, to:

-    Guide and mentor the fellows to help them deliver tasks, and engage with society

-    Link fellows to regional, state and national pro-poor resources and platforms

-    Engage and advocate with state and civil society stakeholders, on policy and practice

-    Create knowledge, through observing and tracking interventions, to draw out lessons, and  disseminate among stakeholders

-    Management and long-term sustainability of the program, including fundraising and donor engagement  

7.         Activities and Timeline:

January 2015: Resource Centrebegins work laying the ground for program roll out:

-       devise fellowship program management guides and manuals; and a structured program of mentoring support

-       build Resource Centre capacity (staff, volunteer mentors)

-       establish partnerships nationally, and in focus states and districts, to develop the program, and establish regional alliances/capacity hubs

-       identify promising activists/CBOs and select them, in first batch districts, and train and orient them

-       develop portal for fundraising and program management, and manage it

April 2015: Fellowsbegin work in first batch districts - to be expanded to further locations 2016 onward, depending on resources generated. 


8.                  Resources sought:

We are raising resources both for establishing the Resource Centre and supporting individual fellows with modest budgets. The challenge is to make the program sustainable, using a combination of traditional and non-traditional funding sources – donor agencies, individual donors/crowd-funding, fundraising portal, and community sources (zakaat among others).

Currently, we are building a corpus as seed fund, to enable us to roll out the plan at limited scale, over the course of a year, whilst also developing systems and capacity for sustainable fundraising. We seek your support to this corpus.   

9.                  To donate:

For India-based bank accounts:

Aman Biradari account details:

Name of A/c:                  Aman Biradari Trust
Bank name:         IDBI Bank 

Bank address:     1/6, Siri Fort Institution Area, Khel Gaon Marg, New Delhi-110049.
A/c No:               010104000156950;       

IFSC Code:           IBKL0000010;     

BSR Code:          110259002

For overseas bank accounts:

Centre for Equity Studies (CES) bank detail

Name of A/c:                  Centre for Equity Studies

Bank Name  :                 State Bank of India

Branch address:             South Extension, Part-II, M-2, New Delhi-110049.

A/c No            :                   10732078459

IFSC Code      :                    SBIN0003219

BSR Code       :                110002117


NOTE: Please also email:, copying:

And provide the following information, so we are able to account for the receipt: 

i.         Donation amount and date money transferred into ABT/CES account

ii.     Purpose of the donation - ‘Misaal Fellowship’

iii.     Your Bank name, account number and method of payment 



Centre for Equity Studies and Aman Biardari are sister organisations, former works on knowledge creation and advocacy for rights of the marginalized, latter on the practical challenge of supporting marginalized groups obtain justice and dignity.


Please check out our websites at: 

Aman Biradari:  

Centre for equity Studies:


Contact person:

Reena Cherian,

Program Associate – Misaal Fellowships

Aman Biradari  


Phone: +91 (0)8826720828

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