(A Public Charitable Trust, registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act.1950 and also registered with Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi, under the Foreign Contributions (Regulations) Act, 1976).


The Nehru Foundation for Development (NFD) today runs number of educational activities in the fields of Science, Mathematics, Environment, Health and Nutrition. Its educational programmes reflect the development priorities of the country. It feels that the communication activities are an integral part of the development process.

NFD was established in 1966 by Dr. Vikram A. Sarabhai as a registered charitable trust. Its first area of activity was in the field of Science and Mathematics education. Initially as the group for the Improvement of Science Education, and later as the Community Science Centre, a facility was created where people concerned about the quality of science education could come together to experiment and try out new ideas and techniques for science education. After Dr. Sarabhai's death, the Centre was renamed the Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC) and dedicated to children by Smt. Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India. The VASCSC is today engaged in a variety of activities which include curriculum development, science club activities, development of educational material including supplementary science books, teaching aids, kits, science toys, charts, etc. The Centre has become a popular Visitor Centre for students, educators as well as members of community. It regularly holds science exhibitions as permanent interactive exhibits in its quadrangle. It has a library used by students, teachers, and researchers and an auditorium which is used for film shows, slide shows, science demonstrations and popular talks. The Centre runs a number of science club activities including a model rocketry club. It regularly holds teacher training programmes and workshops on educational subjects. It also runs various innovative out-reach programmes. A recent one was a "Science Circus" that toured a number of small towns and villages in Gujarat. The Centre is situated in the Gujarat University campus and has a well-equipped building for carrying out its activities.

Since July.1991 the Vikram A. Sarabhai Community Science Centre (VASCSC) has been registered as a separate legal entity under the Societies Act. 1860 under the direction and guidance of the Department of Education, Government of India, New Delhi and it receives support mainly from the Central & State Government by way of grant-in-aid.

In  1977 a second activity of the Nehru Foundation for Development was initiated at its new campus at Thaltej Tekra. This institution called Vikram Sarabhai Centre for Development Interaction (VIKSAT) started its programme with an urban education project. Aimed at improving the Ahmedabad environment, it initiated a project on environmental awareness. Through a number of forums including seminars, workshops, a magazine called AmdaVadmA, and a mobile exhibition, it generated consciousness of people on environmental issues. The thrust of the programme was to show how environmental sensitivity could lead to an improved development plan and mistakes and problems encountered in other metropolitan cities could be avoided. VIKSAT also identified the lack of horizontal communication between one voluntary agency and another working in the development field.

It felt that there was a need to document the experience of such agencies with a view to develop educational programmes for other voluntary agencies in turn. VIKSAT's programmes grew into a number of nature and environmental educational areas.

The Department of Environmental, Government of India was in close touch with these activities and in 1984 identified these programmes as a nucleus to start a Centre of Excellence at the national level in the field of environment education.

The Centre for ENVIRONMENT Education (CEE) was launched as a registered society affiliated to the Nehru Foundation for Development and supported by the Department of Environment, Forests & Wildlife. The Centre is involved in developing programmes and material to increase awareness about the environment. School children, visitors to national parks and sanctuaries, users of media, rural poor living in areas where there is severe shortage of natural resources, the urban dweller and the general public are the principal target groups of the current programmes. Natural, manmade and cultural environmental issues are dealt with in these programmes. Both the VASCSC and CEE are well equipped with workshop facilities, including facility for working with wood and metal, printing facility etc.

In 1978, a very successful weeklong snake show was organised at the VASCSC at which over 50,000 people stood in queue for what was an educational activity. The tremendous success of this snake demonstration led to the creation of Sundarvan as a permanent facility where small animals would be kept and a number of educational programmes involved animals run. The park was inaugurated by the late Dr. Salim Ali, the renowned ornithologist in 1979. The Sundarvan programmes were carried out by the Nehru Foundation for Development in collaboration with the Karmakshetra Educational Foundation. Through Sundarvan, snake shows have been held in rural areas where there is a great need for such educational programmes. The village community needs to understand how snakes help in agriculture by controlling the population of rats and be told what to do in situation when a poisonous snake bites a person. This type of educational programme may be able to save several lives.    

Sundarvan has embarked on an imaginative programme to develop areas where natural regeneration of vegetation is encouraged. These locations are also being provided infrastructure facilities where urban groups can go for camping, while rural youth are trained towards optimising their resources on a sustainable basis.

In 1979 a small project aimed at developing educational projects for improving the impact of the feeding programmes being run by CARE-Gujarat was launched by the VASCSC. This was followed by another project to integrate nutrition and health action programme (INHAP). Implemented in 10 districts of Gujarat, this programme aimed at enhancing the impact of ongoing feeding programmes by co-ordination of existing health and nutrition facilities.

CHETNA, which means “awareness” in several Indian languages, is an acronym for Centre for Health Education, Training and Nutrition Awareness. It is an activity of the Nehru Foundation for Development, a public charitable trust registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act 1950.

CHETNA is a support organisation based in Ahmedabad Gujarat, India with regional unit at Jaipur. Its mission is to contribute in the empowerment of disadvantaged women, adolescents and children to gain control over their own, their families’ and communities’ health.

Founded in 1980, CHETNA made its beginning with a project aimed at improving the effectiveness of government implemented supplementary feeding programme for mothers and children in Gujarat. Over the past two decades, CHETNA has broadened its activities in the field of nutrition, health education and development education for adolescents, women and children in rural, tribal and urban areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan through implementation of different project/programme activities.

CHETNA supports Government and Non-Government Organisations (GO and NGOs) through its two Resources Centres. CHEITAN, the Child Resource Centre (CRC) (initiated in June 1991) and CHAITANYAA the women’s Health and Development Resource Centre- (WHDRC) (initiated in October 1992).

Together the centres address the needs of children, adolescents and women during different stages of their lives. Capacity Building of NGOs is primarily done through conducting “Training of Trainers” on specific concerns of adolescents, women and children. Presently, CHETNA is active in building the management capacities of education/health practitioners/ supervisors, with a view to develop their capacities and skills, to enable them to implement their field based health programmes more effectively and from a gender perspective.

The training programmes at Ahmedabad are conducted by CHETNA at its Training Centre, Which is equipped for residential programmes as well. In Rajasthan, CHETNA has created a unit to facilitate its outreach in the state. CHETNA develops need based training and education materials for wider dissemination.

A Documentation and Information Centre (DIC) has been established to specifically address the information needs of individuals, (GO’s and NGO’s) academicians, students, researchers working on adolescents, women’s health and development concerns and child health and education concerns.

Since last 3 years, CHETNA through the ‘Ben Lilavati Lalbhai Holistic Health Centre’ also provides promotive and preventive health care disadvantaged communities in the nearby slums of its Shahibaug premises.

The activities of NFD are guided by Councils of Management consisting of eminent people in the field from different parts of India and representatives from the Central and State Government. Each activity has a Director and a competent professional staff. The programmes are supported by the Central Government as well as by foundations and other institutions. A number of organisations seek advice and help of the Nehru Foundation for Development (NFD) in preparing their educational material or carrying out their programmes and establishing/ building up a new institution in the field of education.

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