The appointment of para-professionals to overcome skill shortages and/or make efficient use of expensive resources is well established in both developing and developed countries. The present research concerns para-teachers in India. The literature on para-teachers is dominated by training for special needs settings, largely in developed societies. Little has been published about para-teachers working in developing countries with children without disabilities, despite this being a common occurrence. The present research investigates how contextual factors influence the design and implementation of professional support for para-teachers. The research participants were 12 para-teachers and five management and administrative staff. Contextual factors included characteristics of para-teachers, classrooms and students from under-resourced settings; and the practices and policies found in a non-school educational setting, here a non-governmental organization. The study indicates that each factor has potentially enhancing and hindering effects which need to be taken into consideration when designing and implementing professional development work.