In Eastern India's Jungle Region
Geography & Climate
- One-third the area of the United States, India occupies most of the Indian subcontinent of southern Asia.
- India borders 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, including tribal groups living in the eastern jungle region.
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.
Children at Home
Homes the jungle region are fragile structures made of mud and thatch, with corrugated metal roofs and dirt floors.
Houses are small, measuring at most 120 square feet and accommodating families of up to seven members.
Typically, no access to electricity or adequate sanitation in this region’s villages is available. Water generally is obtained from a community well, and food is cooked over wood fires.
Issues and Concerns
The impoverished, uneducated villagers in eastern India have few options for earning an income. Most engage in subsistence rice farming, but frequent drought makes this a precarious livelihood.
Some have menial jobs, such as selling produce in the local market, working as laborers on construction sites, or gathering and selling firewood from the jungle.
The average daily income of people in the jungle region is the equivalent of less than $2 per day. Most families eat only one daily meal.
Because of the lack of understanding about hygiene and consuming water from contaminated sources, children suffer unnecessarily from preventable illnesses.
Medical facilities in this region are scarce and ill-equipped.
Family life for children is also often unsafe, because alcohol consumption is an accepted cultural practice and alcohol abuse is common.
Local Needs and Challenges
Food & Clean Water
Children face many challenges in their struggle against poverty. Malnutrition is widespread, and the lack of adequate sanitation and safe water threatens the well-being of children.
Domestic violence is also a problem throughout the region, and early child marriage and discrimination against girls are common.
Schools are inadequate, and illiteracy is a serious issue. Children often drop out of school to work or care for younger siblings while their parents work.
Schools and Education
- Public schools in the rural jungle region do not offer high-quality education.
- Lack of adequate pay means there are few qualified teachers.
- Children crowd into ill-equipped classrooms, where one teacher must manage up to 45 students.
- Children often drop out of school to work at menial jobs to supplement their family’s income.
- Because parents in this area are uneducated themselves, they don’t recognize the value of school attendance for their children.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Compassion works in eastern India’s jungle region to ensure that children have the resources and learning opportunities they need to overcome poverty.
Assisted children receive extra tutoring to help them excel educationally.
Teens are provided training in skills such as automobile repair and carpentry to enable them to become economically self-sufficient.
For parents, Compassion centers conduct awareness programs about the importance of children’s education and nutrition, as well as the dangers of child labor and early child marriage.
Centers also provide training for parents in improved farming methods and a variety of income-producing options.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
Compassion is bringing help and hope to children in need in eastern India’s jungle region, 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