Poverty is just not lack of money;
it is not having the capability to realise one’s full potential as a human being.

– Amartya Sen

Our Story

Head Held High Foundation is a Bangalore-based non-profit on a quest to tackle humanity’s oldest and most persistent problem: poverty. Along with a passionate team and many committed partners, we work to reduce inequity in all its forms.

Our story began with the stories of eight young people from rural Karnataka who were part of our first youth transformation batch. These individuals had not had a chance to finish their schooling or explore possibilities beyond their immediate environment. At the end of six months, however, they had transformed into more confident versions of their former selves. They have since gone on to build fulfilling lives and to emerge as changemakers in their communities.

Since that powerful beginning, we have grown into one of India’s topmost non-profits driving youth transformation, women empowerment and livelihood development in rural communities. Our poverty alleviation efforts in these locations include assessment, expanding social protection, financial inclusion, skills-based training, job placement support, mentoring and more.  

Our Vision

Our vision is to eradicate rural poverty globally,
beginning in India.

We believe

We believe that there is enough and more for everyone on our planet. Poverty makes no sense in such a world of abundance.

We think

We think that the key to tackling poverty is to address the deprivation of capabilities that keeps a person from living a life they have reason to value.

We work

We work with marginalised groups and communities to trigger transformation at many levels and to create pathways to a better life for them.

Our Initiatives

Youth Transformation


To enable youth transformation

Rural Entrepreneurship


To spur rural entrepreneurship

Global Action on Poverty


To amplify the impact of changemakers

Future Ready Guidance


To build job and career preparedness in youth across India



To tackle multi-dimensional poverty at the family level

Social Innovation for Youth

Social Security Access

Community Response Centers covering food, healthcare, education 

Theory of change

In our model, the primary force for change is the individual. A transformed individual, when given access to viable economic pathways, can emerge from and lead their family out of poverty. Our roadmap for driving change for individuals, families and communities is based on this core belief in the power of agency.
Theory of Change

Interventions & forms of support:

1) Family poverty assessment and alleviation plan

2) Access to social security schemes & services

3) Youth skilling & transformation

4) Access to economic pathways (jobs, self-employment, higher education)

5) Future ready guidance 

6) Place-based economic opportunities

7) Social innovation orientation for youth

8) Amplifed impact for changemakers

This enables change for those we serve by:

– Tackling barriers at the family level

– Building work & life capabilties

– Creating individual agency

– Enabling access to livelihoods

– Boosting changemaking capability in the world at large