Nalamdana History

Nalamdana was registered as a Charitable Trust in 1993 and an office was set up in a small rented flat by April 1994. Uttara Bharath became executive trustee and Nithya Balaji, one of the original trustees, took over from her later in 1996. Jeeva and his core group also joined the Board.

Since 1993, this creative collaboration has created street plays on a variety of health issues, and Nalamdana has reached more than half a million people through street theatre, and many more through other media like tele-dramas, interactive media and print. Nalamdana’s performances are targeted at a semi literate and illiterate audience in rural and urban Tamil Nadu. In ten years, we have covered more than 50 villages in Tamil Nadu and about 500 inner city slums in Chennai.


UttaraUttara Bharath founded Nalamdana with a seed grant from the Echoing Green Foundation in New York, with the idea of designing innovative communication methods to deliver social messages to illiterate audiences.

Uttara was looking to use entertaining methods of creating awareness of health issues and of reaching out to audiences.

jeeva 120x120R.Jeevanandam, a double graduate from Madurai, and his group of friends were already using street plays to create health awareness in and around Madurai. Since their college days they had done plays on health issues: tuberculosis, general health, HIV AIDS: had worked in truck stops through the nights, creating awareness of safe sex.

A serendipitous encounter between Uttara and Jeeva while waiting to meet the officials of another NGO led to the first street show on ‘Health and Hygiene” in a Chennai slum in 1994. The response to that first play was so overwhelming that Jeeva and his friends moved permanently from Madurai to Chennai.

Reporting & Transparency

Nalamdana is a non political, non religious registered charitable trust in India – with tax exemption and permission to receive foreign donations. Friends of Nalamdana is a registered 501(c) 3 charity in the United States. We are listed on Guidestar and Charity Navigator. All local regulatory laws have been observed and audited balance sheets and reports are annually filed. Donations in the US and India are tax-deductible. You may review an interim Annual Report here and examine our 2015 Financial Statement here.