Birds Nest India

Birds Nest focuses on the primary need for shelter and stability. Women and families living on the streets of Chennai are amongst India’s most vulnerable but it is a ‘place of familiarity’; a place they have often ‘known’ for generations.


Foxglove partners with Saraswathi Education Cultural Trust, a registered local NGO, to better understand the needs and the solutions for those living on the pavement. The Trust has extensive experience working with women and community projects to address underlying issues of poverty through family planning, health and maternity clinics, and finance lending. And often finds itself working with those outside the Government safety net. For those known as ‘pavement dwellers’, the challenges to permanent accommodation are complex. They begin with a lack of identity papers limiting a family’s access to health treatment and basic education. Without these basic needs being addressed, as well as access to vocational training and small business start-up loans, families cannot consider moving from the pavement into low-cost slum accommodation. But there is a problem. Before the women can access vocational training, take out small loans and start businesses they are required by Government to have a permanent address. It’s a case of which comes first. Birds Nest breaks this deadlock by supporting and equipping families for twelve months before they have sufficient funds and options to move into low-cost slum accommodation. During this period, women and families receive vocational training, written and financial literacy, education for children, family health checks and treatment. From there, Birds Nest helps the women find low-cost accommodation in the slum and join a Self Help Group. It’s still a choice. It’s still difficult. But for those who take the chance, the stories of life change are remarkable.


She makes her future.

Birds Nest India Stories

“Even a bird
needs a nest”

To support 500 women and families living on the streets of Chennai into affordable secured accommodation in a local slum community.

Sub goals

Enable 100 families to relocate from the pavement and cover their own ongoing living costs

Equip women and young adults with workplace & literacy skills to provide income and security

Enable school attendance for school-aged children

Provide medical assessment and services


Community Networking

Gain confidence of women leading families on pavement (face to face meetings)

Engage community in accepting and supporting street families

Medical Assessment

Conduct family assessments and questionnaires for 100 families

Provide basic health treatment at local clinics for 500 women and family members

Interventions for chronic or acute conditions as needed

Education & Training

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

Enroll and resource 350 children into local schools


Identify low cost accommodation in slums

Provide deposit, accommodation subsidy and furnishings (table and bedding) for first ‘home’

Impact & Achievements

Community Acceptance

Network of women within slums assisting with placement of pavement dwellers into secure low-priced accommodation

Identified landlords prepared to support low cost housing

Women’s Mindsets

70 families relocated from the streets in last 18 months

100 women taking out small loans to start businesses in last two years


Wide range of vocational training providers and training courses – hospitality, handicrafts, jewellery

Formed partnerships with 5 local primary and secondary schools

Healthcare Support

Established 6 dedicated medical clinics

Formed partnerships with local hospitals and medical specialist centres to address specific needs (e.g. drug and alcohol abuse, diabetes, mental health services)

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 and Cambodia at a community or private fundraiser (‘Foxglove in a Basket’)

Take part in a sponsorship event with Birds Nest India as the nominated charity


Join the Foxglove Support Crew