Our Story

Founded as a nonprofit in 2004, ANKURI — The Agency for Non-Konventional Urban and Rural Initiatives has been working in northern Uttarakhand, India, since 2000 and now supports over 100 women through a variety of projects that provide employment, education, and training in skills such as knitting, entrepreneurship, and organic farming. We structure our programs around the the belief that for sustainable social and economic development to be successful, an integrated approach is essential.

The word ankuri means a ‘sprouting seed.’ Just as a tiny seed has the potential to grow into a vast tree, ANKURI has grown from a single idea that was sown over fifteen years ago out of the desire to see the rural community grow and flourish into strong, independent, and respected members of their society.

Over the years, ANKURI has expanded this vision by creating an internship program to partner with universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. We host student interns to participate as catalysts in our programs. We are currently in the process of starting a small organic farm with the aim of creating a model permaculture system that local villagers can replicate.

We market our products through our social enterprise — Pure Hands by ANKURI.




Knitting program started as an employment generation program


Participated in Dastkar Annual Craft Bazaars with products knitted by village women


Started supplying hand-knitted mufflers and hats to FabIndia — www.fabindia.com


Established an annual English summer school for village teenagers taught by US volunteers

FabIndia orders expanded to include stoles

Participated in Dastkari Haat Annual Bazaar


Four week Internship Program with medical undergrad students from US universities


Collaborated with designer Tahir Sultan


Interns from US universities initiate annual Health Camps in partnership with www.dilse.com

Spinning Program in collaboration with Khadi Gram Udyog at the Rikholi campus


Collaborated with Khadi Industries to train 40 women to spin


Stitching and embroidery training for 40 women 

Literacy Centre formally started


Spinning Centre closes due to flash floods

First Literacy Centre intern 

2015 — Internship Program formally launched with US universities


Agriculture Program formally launched

Internship Program formally launched with UK university