After 60 years of development cooperation, HEKS/EPER left India at the end of 2020
It was a ground-breaking and pioneering move when HEKS/EPER founded a mechanical training workshop for rural youth in Kerala in 1958. That was its first ever project to be launched in a developing country in the South. In the ensuing years HEKS/EPER teamed up with Indian partner organizations to mount various projects for underprivileged and marginalized population groups such as casteless people (Dalits), women, or India's indigenous people (Adivasis).
Mobilization around land has been one of the major HEKS/EPER successes in India: Over the past ten years, more than 100,000 Dalit and Adivasi families were able to secure land titles with the help of HEKS/EPER and its partner organizations. HEKS/EPER has also been highly instrumental in reintroducing agro-ecological farming in its project regions. Activities and practices such as vermicomposting, initiated by HEKS/EPER, have been incorporated into government programmes and will therefore be continued on a lasting basis.
HEKS/EPER has now withdrawn from India and definitively handed over responsibility for projects to its partner organizations. This is also our ultimate goal as well as our expectation from sustainable development cooperation. People should not come to depend on aid. Instead, we aspire through our projects to help empower them to take over responsibility and claim the rights to which they are entitled. We came not to stay but to work towards the day when we would no longer be needed.