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“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” Stephen Hawking

“The aim of education must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, see in the service to the community their highest life problem.” Albert Einstein

“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.” Albert Camus

Insaan in 2 minutes


Insaan works with philanthropists who want their giving to be more impactful. We do this by investing in innovative social enterprises that create opportunities for the poor through education and entrepreneurship. We focus on the broader Indian Ocean region.

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We re-invest all revenues from our investments in new ventures.


We connect those who want a better world with those in need and measure that lives are indeed being changed, for the better, and for good.



Insaan was founded with support from the Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Fund. We work with families, individuals, Zakat givers, and corporate and institutional donors.



We work through our networks to find ventures involved in education and entrepreneurship. We get to know the organizations and people within them.



We meet the end-users or beneficiaries in the field. We engage them, listen, ask questions, and try to understand their vision of a better life – in their own words.



We disburse funds through equity or grant and continue to work closely with ventures over the life of the funding. We help ventures grow so they can better serve the poor.


Our work derives from our values, and not the reverse. Insaan is an intellectual and ethical engagement that represents our team’s long-standing dedication to changing the lives of the poor.


Field Experience

We have years of experience in the field, working with the poor and living among them in cities and villages across the developing world.


Diverse Perspectives

We apply our diverse personal and academic backgrounds, from economics to philosophy, human development to statistics to approach the problems of poverty with critical thinking and ingenuity.



From our virtual office to our commitment to attracting outstanding and committed professionals to build knowledge, we strive to be a model of cost-effectiveness.


People-Centered Systems

We are open to market solutions and extra-market approaches because reality is complex for the poor. We don’t over-simplify solutions to poverty.


We are a team of experienced individuals with a passion for supporting social entrepreneurs to create change for the poor. Find out more about us.

We are human development professionals with years of field experience across the globe. We have worked for the United Nations, World Bank, NGOs, and consultancies. We share the same values and have shaped Insaan from the start.

Insaan is governed by a Board of Directors who are appointed to serve on a voluntary basis. The board contributes to funding operating expenses.

We are proud to work with remarkable advisors we call knowledge builders, who provide specialist expertise across a plurality of sectors on a pro bono basis.

We partner with recognized companies for legal, communications, data storage and other services. The majority provides their services pro bono, reducing our operational costs.

Data Sharing
Social Media & Events
Digital/Social CRM


Insaan focuses on the broader Indian Ocean region, where some of the world’s poorest live, and some of the world’s most exciting solutions to global poverty are emerging – as you read this.

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United States

Insaan Group
Registered 501(c)(3) charity
New York, NY
Tax ID: 74-3182378

The Netherlands

Insaan Group Europe
Registered foundation
SBI-Code: 94996
RSIN: 851204533

United Arab Emirates

Insaan Group
c/o Farahnaz Karim
PO Box 19282
Dubai, UAE


Access Afya


CIN: U74999DL2016NPL303456
Regd. Office: House No. B 242, Lower Ground Floor, Greater Kailash, Part-I, New Delhi–110048, India
Phone No.: 011 4798 5469

Gyan Shala
Mela Artisans


The ventures we fund provide innovative, sustainable and high impact solutions to the problems of the poor. We implement a rigorous selection process, ourselves, which involves regular field work.


We build our metrics from the ground up based on the narratives of people who are changing their own lives. We document the stories of people to measure how their lives are being changed and provide insights “from the field” to build up our knowledge.


In the Media

Read articles featuring Insaan and the ventures we support.



At Insaan we believe that statistics and metrics alone cannot capture human change, nor can stories. Art in all its forms – photography, cinema, representation, and beyond – is also necessary to our understanding of the human experience in all its raw depth. It is part of how all people, from philanthropists to end-users to the Insaan team, can strengthen our understanding of one another.


Insaan has a partnership with Jacob Balzani Lööv, an outstanding and engaged photographer and videographer to document the lives of our end-users and the work we support on-the-ground. A visual narrator.

Click a thumbnail to see a larger view


On December 5th 2012, Insaan held a Philanthropy Art Auction at the Capital Club in Dubai featuring the extraordinary, Nairobi-based artist, Fitsum Berhe Woldelibanos.

Click a thumbnail to see a larger view


Change the World Now

100% of private donations go directly to the ventures we support.

Give on birthdays

(your own and that of your friends’ and family’s)

Share on special occasions

(in lieu of wedding gifts, on a promotion or a good bonus year)

Donate on global celebrations

(Eid, Diwali, Nawruz, Christmas, Hanukkah, etc.)

Give $1 every day

(and think of those who live on that)

Insaan is registered as a 501(c)(3) public charity in the United States, as well as a foundation in the European Union, in the Netherlands. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

We respect the privacy of our donors. Read our donor privacy policy.



What does “Insaan” mean?

Insaan means “human” in Arabic, Hindi, Persian and Urdu. Our name reflects our commitment to people, who are at the center of all we do. We connect people to spur change.

What does Insaan do?

Insaan’s mission is to make philanthropy more effective and high impact. We do this by investing in social enterprises that create opportunities for the poor through education and entrepreneurship.

We envision a more equitable world where the poor and the marginalized are given a chance to lift themselves out of poverty and realize their full potential.

What issues does Insaan focus on?

We focus on education and entrepreneurship. These two areas are leverage points to lift people out of poverty, and are most in need of long-term financing. We are concerned with long-term impact and therefore do not choose to direct limited resources on short-term engagement or involvement in sectors that are already over-crowded with aid or impact investing actors.

Where does Insaan work?

Insaan focuses on the broader Indian Ocean region (East Africa, South Asia and the Middle East), where some of the world’s poorest live, and some of the most exciting solutions to global poverty are emerging.

Where is Insaan based?

We are a global team located in South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and North America. We operate entirely in the cloud. No buildings means no money, no time, and no effort are spent maintaining expensive spaces. We meet regularly in the field.

How does Insaan decide what ventures to support?

Insaan implements a rigorous selection process based on the field experience of its team.

We actively seek those at the forefront of social innovation, building on strong local networks. We carry out an in-depth analysis of each potential partner, with a field visit. Only after a thorough due diligence do we make a decision to fund.

Our investment criteria are four-fold: we look at the people, their idea, their impact potential and financial sustainability.

What support does Insaan provide?

We help social enterprises by providing them the capital, skills and advisory support they need to grow, so that they can better serve the poor. We work closely with ventures over the life of funding, and track performance to ensure we achieve impact.

With our support, ventures are able to develop tangible, sustainable, and scalable solutions for the poor. We are then able to exit and fund new ventures. 100% of profits from our social investments are re-invested in new ventures.

How is Insaan funded?

Insaan is registered as a 501(c)(3) public charity in the United States as well as a foundation in the European Union, in the Netherlands.

We work with families, individual philanthropists, foundations, corporations, and Zakat givers. Insaan was initially created with the support of the Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Fund. Donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

We are committed to protecting the privacy of our donors. We don’t sell, rent, or trade donors’ personal data.

Where does my money go?

100% of private donations go directly to the ventures we support. Insaan’s generous and forward-thinking board of directors and institutional partners cover our operating costs – so you don’t have to.

Like all 501(c)(3) organizations, specific information about our finances is publicly available on our Form 990, our annual tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service. EIN/Tax ID number: 74-3182378.

Does Insaan make money?

No. Insaan is a non-profit organization. We re-invest all revenues from our social investments in new ventures, making our model inherently sustainable.

Can I choose to donate for a specific cause, or venture?

Insaan occasionally works with funders to customize their giving or philanthropic portfolio. Please contact chief executive officer Farahnaz Karim if you would like to donate for a specific cause or venture: farahnaz@insaangroup.org.

How can I get updates on Insaan’s work?

Information about our work and ventures we support is available on our website.

We share periodic reports with our funders and partners.

We hope this has answered your questions regarding Insaan. If you have any further questions, please contact us.

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