who we are
As a non-profit organization, SOPAR-Bala Vikasa is focused on sustainable development in India. Our approach is simple: help communities help themselves by providing rural villagers with the tools and resources they need to transform their lives and get out of poverty.
As Canadians, we understand the importance of getting involved and helping countries in extreme poverty. SOPAR-Bala Vikasa encourages all Canadians to participate in its efforts so that together, we can put an end to ongoing poverty in India’s rural communities. We have been working tirelessly toward these goals since 1977.
To date, over 40 million dollars have been raised to help over 5 million people of India’s poorest people get out of poverty. SOPAR -Bala Vikasa is regarded by the Canadian Government and other international bodies as a leading non-for-profit model; one that achieves sustainable results and helps entire communities get out of poverty. In 2017, André and Bala Theresa received the Meritorious Service Cross from the Governor General Julie Payette for their continued service to those in need.
SOPAR -Bala Vikasa is above all a love story between two people, André Gingras and Bala Theresa Singareddy, committed to each other and to making a real difference in the world.
André and Bala grew up in different parts of the world. However, both had the same dream of serving those in need. They met in the Philippines in the late 60s while undertaking religious studies. Their connection was instantaneous. They got married and vowed to commit their lives to helping those in need. André and Bala Theresa made this life promise to each other – one that would not only shape their own lives, but also change the lives of millions of people in India.
Back in Canada, in 1977, they founded SOPAR -Bala Vikasa (which stands for “Société de partage” in French or Society for Partnership). With the help of like-minded Canadians and Indians, the organization grew helping thousands of orphans and widows live a respectable life, women build small businesses to support their families and communities, and by building wells and water purification systems in order to give water to entire villages.
We long for a just and peaceful society in which each individual and each community is empowered and self-reliant; where human dignity, equal rights and equal opportunities are enjoyed by all.
Striving for an equitable and just society, we support and strengthen sustainable Community Driven Development among the most fragile sectors of the population through:
- Capacitating communities with special emphasis on women empowerment and youth mobilization, to help themselves through sustainable, community development initiatives and programs.
- Sharing knowledge and building capabilities, offering technical support and training to Civil Society Organization/institutions (CSO), in sustainable community driven development.
- Providing comprehensive technical support and training to the business community towards social responsibility. Promoting and incubating social enterprises towards sustainable community development.