About Us - Our Story


CITTA believes that ending poverty begins with respect and understanding. We take a localized approach that harnesses the power of local cultural history and community ties to bring education, equality, and economic opportunity to everyone in our partner communities.

We look at our community work as an ecosystem and understand that to create true, lasting change we must provide support on multiple levels. Our model begins with support for quality education, which impacts almost every household in the region. Following this, we help build economic opportunities by discovering creative enterprises that utilize local resources, art, and cultural traditions. Across all of our work, we understand the importance of inclusion and equality and take extra effort to ensure the participation and benefit of marginalized communities—particularly women and girls.

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In partnership with our local leadership team, CITTA has launched its first project—the GYAAN Center, in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. GYAAN is a Sanskrit word that means ‘knowledge’ or ‘wisdom’ in a holistic sense. The campus includes three main buildings—an award-winning girls’ school, a women’s cooperative building for local enterprise, and a library facility that also houses a textile museum and performance space.

This center is the only of its kind in the world and will harness the energy of art, education, and culture to help end poverty while increasing gender parity in one of India’s most challenging regions for women and girls.

We are indebted to many people who have helped make this vision a reality. In particular, CITTA India Directors Manvendra Singh Shekhawat who provided the land for the facility, and Chaitanya Raj Singh Bhati, the Maharwal of Jaisalmer, who was a key and trusted liaison with the local community.

US-based architect, Diana Kellogg, designed the structures while local stone craftsman, Kareem Khan, executed the vision for the school. World-renowned designer, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, contributed to the project by creating uniforms for the students that celebrate local textile traditions.

CITTA is a registered nonprofit. All donations are tax-exempt under 501(c)(3). The organization was initiated to support communities in some of the poorest and most challenging areas in India that lack access to proper healthcare and education and face significant obstacles to economic development.