Rajiv Khandelwal

Aajeevika Bureau
Year founded: 

Aajeevika Bureau provides services to seasonal migrants who leave their villages to find work in cities, factories and farms across India.

Focus: Migration, Labour, Employment
Geographic Area of Impact: India
Model: Leveraged Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 14,400 (2010)
Annual Budget: US$ 350,000 (2010)
Percentage Earned Revenues: 14%
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year, India, 2010

The rural, seasonal migrant workers are a massive workforce with numbers that reach nearly 100 million across India. These workers drift through the economy, often at its very bottom end, remaining largely outside the reach of state services and devoid of opportunities offered by growing markets. Despite the major contributions migrant workers make to India’s prosperity, they suffer neglect from employers, the government and society at large. As a large and vulnerable section of India’s disorganized labour force, migrant workers have poor social security, little protection from malpractices and hazards, and dim prospects of growth and advancement.

Innovation and Activities
Aajeevika Bureau is a specialized institutional initiative for providing services, support and security to rural seasonal migrant workers. Its focus is based on the belief that rural-to-urban migration is an inevitable socio-economic reality, especially for those unable to generate a meaningful livelihood from rural resources. Despite their major contribution to the economy, rural migrant workers remain excluded from opportunities, services and protection. The work of Aajeevika Bureau is therefore aimed at improving social and livelihood opportunities for migrants while developing services and policies for their advancement.

Aajeevika Bureau works in the registration and issuance of identity cards for migrant labourers, allowing them to access banking, mobile telephone service, as well as government and citizenship entitlements. The organization offers skills training and job placements for rural youth. Through trade-based collectivization of migrant workers from the disorganized sector, Aajeevika Bureau is able to lend greater voice to this often neglected group.

Aajeevika Bureau also enrols migrant workers in legal services, insurance and pension plans. It facilitates links with government programmes, food security, health services, and counselling for women and children who experience the long-term absence of male family members. Additionally, Aajeevika Bureau manages migration resource centres that provide knowledge, capacity building and management support to migration initiatives in other NGOs and projects.

Aajeevika Bureau is a non-profit, charitable trust registered in Udaipur, Rajasthan, which has helped over 50,000 migrants since its founding in 2005.

The Entrepreneurs
Rajiv Khandelwal has worked in a wide range of rural development, employment and entitlement programmes and projects in Rajasthan. He has served as a consultant to NGOs and donors while advising a number of international and government agencies. After spending two years in East Africa in early 2000, he returned to Udaipur to establish Aajeevika Bureau in 2005.

Krishnavatar Sharma is a senior social worker in Udaipur, India. He has coordinated self-help programmes, natural resources work, employment and legal aid programmes, and has overseen capacity-building programmes of development workers before joining Rajiv Khandelwal to establish Aajeevika Bureau as a specialized migration organization.