In India's Urban 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.
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
The homes of poor families in India’s cities are makeshift structures made of whatever scrap materials can be found.
Houses are crowded together in shantytowns along the edges of railroad yards parks, riverbanks and other locations where their illegal existence is tolerated by the authorities.
These flimsy dwellings offer little protection from the elements, and often a spark from one family’s cooking fire will burn down an entire shantytown.
Issues and Concerns
- Unlike the middle class, poor migrants to the cities find few opportunities for a better life. Typically, they end up more impoverished than they were in their native villages.
- Some people share slum flats with other families from “back home” who previously migrated to the city. Others move into the many bastis, clusters of makeshift dwellings, found throughout India’s cities.
- Still other migrants, who do not even have the means to construct a meager dwelling in a basti, live on the streets, constantly in search of any kind of work.
- The rapid influx of people in India’s cities challenges the government’s ability to provide such basic services as safe water and sanitation.
Local Needs and Challenges
Clean water & sanitation
City slum life is particularly hazardous to children. Malnutrition is common, and the lack of access to safe water and sanitary toilet facilities threatens their health every day.
Parents of these children simply cannot afford medical care.
Opportunities to achieve a good education are scarce in the slums. Rather than attending school, many children spend their days working, some in dangerous jobs, to earn a little money for their families.
Schools and Education
The literacy rate in India’s cities is higher than that in villages and smaller towns. Cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai offer world-class education through well-respected colleges and universities.
However, poor urban children more commonly spend their days working and striving to earn a little money to help the family rather than going to school.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
In partnership with local worship centers in India’s urban centers, Compassion sponsors are providing real help and hope for their assisted children.
To fight malnutrition, children are provided regular, balanced meals at their Compassion centers.
They also receive the tuition, uniforms and supplies they need attend school. Extra tutoring helps ensure that they progress in their studies.
For caregivers, centers provide workshops on parenting skills, the importance of education, and the dangers of child labor.
Centers also organize addiction recovery programs. As a result, many adults have stopped drinking and become responsible providers for their children.
Centers conduct skills training programs to help parents get more stable jobs and improve their income.
Spiritual retreats are also regularly conducted to help parents understand and embrace God’s plan for their children.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local worship centers, Compassion is bringing help and hope to children in need in India’s urban 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