In India's Tribal Regions
Geography & Climate
- One-third the area of the United States, India occupies most of the Indian subcontinent in southern Asia.
- India borders on China in the northeast. Other neighbors are Pakistan on the west, Nepal and Bhutan on the north, and Burma and Bangladesh on the east.
- Climate in the country ranges from tropical monsoon in the south to temperate in the north.
- Terrain includes upland plains in the south; flat to rolling plains along the Ganges; deserts in the west; Himalayas in the north.
Over the last several years, India has experienced impressive economic growth. However, millions of Indians still live under the weight of crushing poverty.
Traditionally, tribal families raised livestock to earn a meager income. Today, however, more are becoming involved in more diverse small-scale farming and other income-generating activities.
Nationwide, the unemployment rate is 8.8 percent.
The average annual household income is U.S.$6,671.
The child labor (ages 5-14) rate stands at 12 percent.
The population living below the poverty line is 29.8 percent.
India’s huge and growing population is overstraining natural resources.
Throughout the country, 33 percent of the population lives on U.S.$1.25 per day or less.
Children at Home
India’s traditional tribal homes, called munds, are small, simple mud structures with dirt floors and thatched roofs. They typically have no windows and contain only a few furnishings.
In one corner of the house, or in an exterior court, is an earthen hearth where the women cook meals over a wood fire.
Most homes lack electricity, running water and toilet facilities.
Issues and Concerns
- Members of India’s tribal groups are among the country’s poorest people.
- Living in small, isolated hamlets, their children often suffer from malnutrition and a lack of access to such basics as health care and education.
- Witchcraft and alcohol abuse are common issues.
- Illiteracy is another pressing problem.
Local Needs and Challenges
Children in India’s tribal regions often suffer from malnutrition and inadequate access to medical care.
The shortage of educational opportunities works against children’s ability to escape poverty. Few complete elementary school, and rarely do secondary schools exist in their communities.
Schools and Education
- Tribal children typically start primary school, but abandon their education after the first three or four years.
- Many tribal areas have no secondary schools, and few children have the means or desire to leave home to continue their education.
- Tribal youths rarely attend India’s colleges and universities.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
In India’s tribal regions, Compassion works to meet the needs of children who are truly the poorest of the poor.
At their partner-based Compassion centers, children enjoy regular, nutritious meals. They are also provided the means to attend school.
Regular medical checkups and assistance in the case of illness are also provided.
Awareness training programs conducted at their centers help protect them from abuse.
Center staff are caring and mature adults who spend quality time with the children, encouraging them spiritually and providing the love and guidance they might be lacking at home.
To help improve children’s home conditions, centers provide mothers with training in such skills as handicraft-making and tailoring so they can generate income from home.
Programs focusing on overcoming addiction, a widespread problem among fathers, also help strengthen the family.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
Compassion is bringing help and hope to children in need in India’s tribal regions, providing them with:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- health and hygiene training
- access to special services like surgeries and disaster relief
- mentoring to help children discover their incredible value as God's children