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Helping vulnerable families in Rourkela, India

Jyoti standing proudly in her shop
Jyoti standing proudly in her shop

Despite its natural resources, Orissa (also known as Odisha) is the poorest state in India. Two-thirds of people here live in extreme poverty. And in 1999, a super cyclone brought devastation to the area. Many children were orphaned by the disaster and so in 2001, SOS Children built a second Village in Orissa , at Rourkela.

In cities such as Rourkela, urban poverty levels are the worst in India. For children from the poorest families, particularly female-headed households, life is often grim.

A new start

This was the case for Jyoti’s young children. The wife of a physically challenged man, Jyoti ended up as the sole bread winner for her family. It was a daily struggle to put food on the table.

Then, in 2010, Jyoti joined our community programme, which works to support children and families in Rourkela and nearby villages. With our help, Jyoti set up her own food shop (shown in the photo above). Jyoti says proudly “it is small but it is working”.

The shop even allows her to make small monthly savings, ensuring her children will be able to continue in school. “I have hope for my children and their future”, she says.

What happens when children have no parents?

Sravani in Rourkela, Orissa

If life is a struggle for the children of poor parents, imagine how hard it is when youngsters have no one to care for them.

This happened to Kusa and his sister, Sravani. Kusa was only eight when his mother passed away. For some years the family struggled on, but then their father also became ill and died. Kusa’s older married sister, Chidi, and their uncle tried to help, but extremely poor themselves they could do little for the children.

When SOS Children heard of the family's plight, Kusa and his sister were taken into our programme. This meant Sravani (shown in the photo on the left) could remain in school. Sravani enjoys her studies. If she performs well in her exams, she would like to become a nurse or policewomen. For this youngster, education offers the chance of a better life.

With our help, Kusa (to the right in the photo) is training to become a driver. He says life was very difficult for a while but he is now hopeful because “someone in the world cares for us.”

In Rourkela, SOS Children is helping more than 800 vulnerable children and their families. Across India, through community programmes like the one in Rourkela, we are supporting more than 25,000 children. Learn more about our work in India today.