Cities in India

Cities in India

There are many large cities in India - Mumbai and Kolkata are good examples. But despite that, almost 75 percent of the population live in the rural area and not in the cities in India.

India Rural Regions

The Location


The Population


The Religion


The Weather

  • Farming is the most common livelihood of adults in India’s rural villages. For their backbreaking efforts, they earn only a small wage. India men and women harvesting food
  • The Compassion program provides learning activities for all facets of a child’s development. India children in classroom
  • Children commonly work alongside their parents at the local farms. India two boys with tomatoes
  • At their Compassion-assisted child development centers, children are taught how to develop a lifelong relationship with God through prayer. India children praying
  • Older children learn vocational skills that will help them earn a living for themselves as well as help their families. India women sewing
  • This vendor loads up his bicycle with items to sell in rural villages. India man carrying buckets on motorbike

Overview: Rural

Although India has some of the world’s largest cities, such as Mumbai and Kolkata, almost three-quarters of the population lives in rural villages.

Most villagers work in agriculture, cultivating their own small plots of land or working as laborers or tenants on the farms of more affluent landholders. Spinning and weaving also are common cottage industries. However, the meager income generated by agriculture and small village businesses rarely meets even the most basic needs of India’s rural families.

Although Indians eat little meat, raising livestock plays an important role in the agricultural economy. India has the largest cattle population by far of any country in the world. Cattle are used mainly as draft animals, but they also provide a source of milk, fertilizer and cooking fuel (from dried cow dung). Because cattle slaughter is illegal in many states, cattle that outlive their usefulness are allowed to wander as strays or are sent to goshalas, homes for aged cattle maintained by contributions from devout Hindus.


Culture Corner


Try this simple dish, especially popular in southern India.


1 c. white rice
Water for boiling
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. turmeric
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. olive oil
⅓ c. lemon juice
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro


Cook rice in water until done, about 20 to 25 minutes. In a separate skillet, fry the mustard seeds, turmeric, ginger and cumin in olive oil for just a minute or 2. Add to rice.

Add lemon juice and cilantro to rice and stir well to combine. Serve hot.


Life in Rural India

Most of India’s population lives in rural villages throughout the country. Village sizes range between 1,000 and 10,000 people, most of whom work as day laborers on farms owned by more affluent landowners. Many families also engage in such small businesses as textile weaving to supplement their income.

Villages are close-knit communities. The primary religion practiced is Hinduism, and each village has its own gods and goddesses that the people trust in for their well-being and prosperity. Festivals are important events in villages, and families enjoy gathering in the evenings in the community’s common areas to socialize.

Although in the past, education opportunities were few in India’s rural regions, the government is making significant progress in constructing both primary and secondary schools even in small villages.

Children at Home

Homes in India’s rural villages typically are small, one-story structures made of mud or bamboo sticks tied together for walls, with dirt floors and thatched roofs. These homes are simple, with few furnishings. Most homes lack electricity, running water, and toilet facilities — only a fifth of rural Indian homes have adequate sanitation. Usually a secluded area on the edge of a village is designated as its community toilet.


Community Issues and Concerns india rural community

The pervasive poverty in rural India takes a toll on children’s health. More than one-fourth of all babies are born underweight, and nearly half of all children younger than 5 suffer from malnutrition.

India’s complicated caste system means that children born into what is considered a low station in life face a lifetime of discrimination and a lack of opportunities.

Child marriage is also common in India’s rural communities. And since girls are often considered an economic liability for poor families, the practice of female infanticide, or the killing of infant girls, is not uncommon.

Local Needs and Challenges

In spite of recent advances in the development of India’s rural areas, children growing up in villages face many challenges. Limited diets of maize, beans and rice hinder physical and mental development. Common health problems include skin diseases, malaria and tuberculosis in many areas. Basics such as running water, sanitation, electricity, and access to health care facilities are often out of reach. In rural villages, many children may not advance beyond a primary school education as they are frequently pulled out of school to help their families earn money for food.


Schools and Education india rural education

In the past, only children in cities had the opportunity to attend school. But the government is establishing primary and secondary schools in India’s villages to ensure that children in rural areas also receive an education. Many private schools are also being built in rural areas.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

Compassion-assisted child development centers provide children in India’s rural villages with the resources and learning opportunities they need to overcome poverty. Medical attention, extra nutrition, academic tutoring and vocational training help ensure that they will grow into healthy, happy, responsible adults. Most important, the children have the opportunity to learn about God’s love and His gift of salvation.


Working Through the Local Church

At Compassion, we believe God’s mandate to serve the world’s poor and oppressed rests on the shoulders of the church. That’s why being “church-based” is an important Compassion distinctive. In other words, Compassion comes alongside local churches, empowering them to carry out God’s mandate to bring real and lasting transformation into the lives of impoverished children. Local churches understand well the challenges of the poor in their communities, as well as the best ways to address those challenges.

For more than 40 years, this unique partnership between Compassion and local Indian churches has been releasing children from poverty and providing them the opportunities they need to grow into happy, healthy, responsible God-honoring adults.

How Compassion Works in India india rural compassion in india

Compassion’s work in India began in 1968. Currently, more than 75,000 children participate in 334 child development centers (not including eastern India).

Compassion partners with local churches, helping them provide India’s children with a long-term program of physical, educational, social and spiritual development. Through this partnership between Compassion and local churches, children in need have the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all that God has created them to be.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

Partnership Facilitators are the “face” of Compassion to the local churches that operate our program of holistic child development. In India, these dedicated women and men each work alongside 12 church partners, helping them meet the needs of the children they serve with excellence. Partnership Facilitators also represent the churches’ needs and challenges to the national Compassion office.

A Partnership Facilitator visits each church at least once every three months. Travel to churches in remote areas can be long and difficult. Often, facilitators are away from their families for days at a time. But for India’s Partnership Facilitators, committed to improving their country’s future one child at a time, the effort is more than worthwhile.


Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the health of children in rural areas who lack adequate nutrition and sanitation facilities.
  • Pray for abundant harvests for the families who depend on agriculture for a living.
  • Pray that children will excel in their education.
  • Pray that such evils as child marriage and female infanticide will be eliminated in India’s villages.
  • Pray for Compassion center staff members, who diligently strive to meet the needs of the children in their care.