Eastern Ghats


The Eastern Ghats are characterized by lush vegetation. The elevation of the Eastern Ghats mountain range varies between 1800 and 5500 feet above sea level. The Easter Ghats has a large indigenous tribal population and each group has its own language, customs and style of dress.

India East India's Rural Mountains

The Location


The Population


The Religion


The Weather

  • Large tea plantations in the mountain region are a source of employment for many parents of Compassion-assisted children. East India women picking tea
  • Compassion’s holistic child development program is designed to mold children’s lives from the earliest years through the completion of secondary school. East India men and women sitting on ground
  • Children work together to clean up their Compassion center’s grounds. This activity teaches them the importance of environmental hygiene to maintaining good health. East India children picking up trash
  • A Compassion-assisted girl and her mother enjoy reading a letter from the girl’s sponsor. East India girl and woman reading sponsor letter
  • Children at a Compassion-assisted child development center are led in a fun physical exercise activity. Physical development is an important element of each center’s curriculum. East India children raising hands
  • At their Compassion centers, children enjoy playing games together and spending time just being kids. East India boy playing soccer

Overview: Eastern India's Rural Mountains

Eastern India’s rural mountains are characterized by lush vegetation. Drought is not a problem here, as in other eastern India regions, and crops such as cashews, oranges and passion fruit are abundant. The primary natural disaster that the people of this region contend with is landslides, which can destroy crops and homes and sometimes take lives.

In this mountainous, remote region, transportation and communication are also issues. There is little contact with the more progressive sectors of the country, and people here are stuck in isolation with a lack of education.

The elevation of eastern India’s mountainous rural region varies between 1,800 and 5,500 feet above sea level, and the climate is temperate year round.

The people living in the region comprise a wide diversity of ethnic groups. A large indigenous tribal population also exists in the region. On the ladder of India’s complicated social caste system, tribal people occupy the bottom rungs, traditionally considered unclean and suffering discrimination by members of higher castes.

Each group has its own language, customs and style of dress. Hinduism is the primary religion practiced in the region, and people strive to please its many gods and goddesses through religious rituals, such as animal sacrifice. The tribal people in the region are typically animists, worshiping nature.


Culture Corner

east india rural mountain culture


Try this simple dish, eaten by children in eastern India’s rural mountain region.


Finely chop a few tomatoes and some onion. Boil the onion and tomatoes in a pot of water. Add salt and turmeric powder to taste. Boil until the mixture is like a thick soup.

Serve over rice.



Here are a few phrases you can use when writing to your sponsored child in eastern India.

Nanu ningay taaki prathana kihi ma-e.
I am praying for you. (Kuvi language)

Mahapuru tanna aasha itaadu oray.
Trust in God. (Kuvi language)

Tume projectre kono sikhucho?
What are you learning at the center? (Oriya language)

Life in Eastern India's Rural Mountains

Eastern India’s mountain region covers areas in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Darjeeling and Kalimpong in North Bengal, Mizoram, Odisha (formerly known as Orissa), Sikkim and Tripura. Here, the population reflects a wide ethnic diversity.

People who live in this region practice a variety of religions, from Hinduism to Buddhism to animism, a worship of the spirits of nature. However, in Mizoram, the dominant religion is Christianity.

In the rural mountains most adults work as agricultural laborers. Others work at such menial jobs as brick-making, gathering and selling firewood or selling fruits and vegetables in the local markets. Rarely do such jobs pay more than $1 to $2.50 per day.

Homes in this region are made from bamboo, mud, thatch and other simple materials. Many are built on bamboo stilts. They are small structures that typically accommodate large families and provide little protection from the elements.

Children at Home

Homes in eastern India’s rural mountain region are simple constructions made from a variety of materials, including bamboo, mud, thatch, tin or plastic sheets. Typically, homes are surrounded by wooden fences with dry leaves shoved into the gaps. These small homes, usually measuring 100 square feet, accommodate families of up to seven members. Each home typically has one or two rooms and a small front porch.


Community Issues and Concerns east india rural mountain community

The villagers in eastern India’s mountain region earn a living primarily from farming. However, they don’t own the land and must pay rent to the landowners. Some people work at other menial labor jobs, such as brick or pottery making, gathering and selling firewood, breaking stones manually for construction sites, or selling fruits and vegetables in the local market. For these backbreaking jobs, the pay is the equivalent of only $1 to $2.50 per day.

Gambling, alcoholism and early child marriage compound the poverty issue in this region. Also, there is no access to electricity here, and families have little understanding of hygiene or simple ways to guard their children’s health. As a result, preventable illnesses such as diarrhea — which can prove fatal to young children — are common.

Local Needs and Challenges

In the battle against poverty, children in the rural mountain region face many challenges. The lack of ready water access means that children spend many hours walking to and from rivers and streams or waiting in line at community taps to collect water. Often this water is contaminated, causing life-threatening illness. The lack of adequate sanitation and hygiene awareness also leads to illness. Additionally, due to poor infrastructure, local schools in the region are overcrowded and poorly equipped. Few children complete even a basic education. As a result, few children advance to middle school.


Schools and Education east india rural mountain education

Illiteracy is widespread among the people in eastern India’s rural mountains. The average education is barely up to middle school. Children walk long distances just to crowd into ill-equipped classrooms where one teacher must manage up to 50 students. Often, children drop out of school to work at menial jobs to supplement their families’ income. And because parents in this area are uneducated themselves, they don’t see the value of an education for their children.

At the Compassion Child Development Center

At Compassion-assisted child development centers in eastern India’s rural mountain region, children receive the one-on-one attention from the staff that they often lack in their schools. Extra tutoring helps them achieve standard academic milestones, and nutritious meals help them avoid malnutrition. The children also learn good hygiene habits to keep themselves healthy. Most important, they have the opportunity to learn about God’s love and His gift of salvation.


Working Through the Local Church

Compassion believes that God’s purposes on Earth are accomplished through the church – including His purpose of bringing justice and mercy to the world’s poor and oppressed. That’s why in eastern India, as in every country where Compassion’s ministry is found, our program is carried out through local churches.

Our partner churches in eastern India are on the front lines, reaching into their communities to serve impoverished children and families. After all, who better than the local church understands the real needs of the people in its community?

It is our privilege and blessing to work alongside these committed partner churches in eastern India, encouraging, empowering and equipping them to meet children’s needs, all because of God's love.

How Compassion Works in India east india rural mountain compassion in india

Compassion’s work in India began in 1968 and in eastern India in 2002. Currently, more than 56,500 children participate in 233 child development centers in eastern India.

Compassion partners with local churches, helping them provide Indian 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 fulfill their God-given potential.

The Role of a Partnership Facilitator

As the link between Compassion and the partner churches operating our program, Partnership Facilitators play an important role. In eastern India, one of these dedicated staff members is Rupesh. Previously, Rupesh worked at a local church’s Compassion center. So he knows well the challenges partner churches face in providing the best program possible for the children they serve.

Rupesh has a big heart for eastern India’s children in need. He meets regularly with the staff members of the centers under his care, addressing any issues they have and guiding them in improving their ministry. And when he is back in the Compassion office, he spends time with other Partnership Facilitators, sharing ideas and encouraging each other in their important work.


Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the health of children living in unsanitary conditions and that more medical facilities would be built.
  • Pray for an improvement in the government schools, so that children will receive a higher-quality education.
  • Pray for better communications and transportation systems in the region.
  • Pray for the parents and caregivers of Compassion-assisted children, who face unemployment or underemployment.
  • Pray for Compassion center staff members who diligently strive to meet the needs of the children in their care.