In India's Semi-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
Homes in India’s semi-urban areas include a variety of construction styles and sizes. The most impoverished families live in homes with mud walls and thatched roofs supported only by poles at the four corners.
Many roofs are sharply pitched for protection from the heavy rains during the monsoon seasons. More affluent families can afford homes with tile roofs, concrete walls and floors.
Issues and Concerns
- People in India’s towns come from varying backgrounds and cultures, and the complicated caste system is particularly pronounced. People born into low castes are scorned and discriminated against by those of higher castes.
- Alcohol abuse is common, yet few rehabilitation programs exist.
- Although towns offer more job opportunities than villages, unemployment and underemployment are widespread.
- Many families are unable to provide for their children’s basic needs.
Local Needs and Challenges
Limited diets and poor nutrition hinder physical and mental development.
Common health problems include skin diseases, malaria and tuberculosis.
Basic necessities such as running water, sanitation, electricity, and access to health care facilities are sometimes unavailable.
Schools and Education
- The Indian government provides free public education for children up to age 14, consisting of five years of primary education, three years of middle school, two years of lower secondary school and two years of higher secondary school.
- Children usually start their education at age 6.
- The majority of primary school-age Indian children are enrolled in school, although many, especially girls, do not attend regularly.
- Despite access to free education through the lower secondary level, about a fifth of children don’t attend school.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
In India’s towns, 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 tuition, uniforms and supplies they need to attend school. Extra tutoring at the center ensures that children excel academically.
Regular medical checkups and assistance are also provided.
Awareness training programs also help protect them from child abuse.
Center staff spend quality time with the children, encouraging them spiritually and providing the love and guidance they might be lacking at home.
For caregivers, centers conduct programs to help them develop healthy family relationships and parenting practices.
Centers also help parents access locally available resources to help improve their lives and raise healthy, happy children.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
Compassion is bringing help and hope to children in need in India’s semi-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