Birds Nest India

There is estimated to be 10,000 people living on the pavements in Chennai.  This is not homelessness, but pavement living.  It is startling to learn that 75% of pavement dwellers have lived on the streets for 30 years or more. 


However, an increasing number of women and families are seeking a better life for themselves and their children.  Starting with secure accommodation away from the streets.


You see, "Even a bird needs a nest". Most often, this 'step up' is found in moving to the slums. 


The slums provide lockable dwellings, most often a single room, with community support and access to services.  Its a much safer place than the streets. After six months of 'permanent' accommodation, the Government permits the women to join a Self Help Group, open a bank account and access approved financial lenders.  This is the first stride out of poverty. 


Foxglove partners with Saraswathi Education Cultural Trust, a registered local NGO, to address the obstacles to families taking this step from the pavement to the slums.


It's not an easy decision to leave the pavement. It's been home for decades.  And life will still be difficult.  But for those who take the chance, the stories of life change are remarkable.


She makes her future. 


Download the Birdsnest India Impact Report 2019

Birds Nest India Stories

“Even a bird
needs a nest”


To support 100 women and families living on the streets of Chennai into affordable secured accommodation in a local slum community.

Sub goals

Advocate for pavement dwellers to access birth certificates, ration cards & seniors card which are essential for access to Government services.

Enrol children into Government schools, providing essential school texts, stationery and exam costs.

Train women and youth in vocational skills in order to secure employment or start microbusinesses.

Provide 'First Home Starter Kits' for families moving into permanent housing (fan, cooking stove & utensils, bed mats)



Approach government for ID papers and ration cards.

Engage community in accepting and supporting pavement dwellers

Provide connection to landlords for secure housing


Identify families with school age children for government schooling

Support families in registering children for school

Provide text books, stationery and exam costs for 200 students

Vocational Training

Train 100 women and teenagers in personal, workplace and financial literacy skills

Equip 100 women and youth in vocational skills (tailoring, IT, hospitality, jewellery making)


Identify low cost accommodation in slums for 100 families

Provide 'First Home Kits' for families moving from streets (cooking stove & utensils, fans, sleeping mats)

Impact & Achievements


SHG women's network working with slum landlords for placement of pavement dwellers into secure low-priced accommodation

45 ration cards accessing Government support services

24 old age pensions


163 students enrolled in government schools from kindy to Year 5

14 Year 11 & 12 students registered for exams and higher education entry

7 Uni students enrolled and completing undergraduate courses

Vocational Training

32 women completed vocational training courses (hospitality and tailoring)

36 women with small loans for businesses after joining a SHG


35 families moved to rented & safe accommodation

28 families secured permanent Government accommodation

Birds Nest India Gallery

How can I support Birds Nest India?

Give a donation to Birds Nest India and support one family to relocate off the pavement

Organise a community fundraising event for Birds Nest India

Sell Foxglove products made in India at a community or private fundraiser


Change a woman's life forever