Recently transformed into an economic powerhouse, jobs and wages have risen, lifting more people from poverty. But the scale and speed of growth have put pressure on infrastructure, cities and rural areas. Economic advances have outpaced social change and with growing wealth inequality, millions have yet to benefit.
Since setting up India’s first SOS Children’s Village at Greenfields, Delhi in 1964, we have expanded to 32 communities with permanent family homes for 5,000 children. We also support 25,000 children and families in the community via 32 community family strengthening programmes. And when a community is affected by an emergency, we step in to protect children and help families to recover.
“If I hadn’t come here, I don’t know where I’d be. They gave me everything. With their love and affection I became successful. I’m so grateful to have had a normal childhood.”
Geetha, SOS Children’s Village
Challenges for children
Around half of India's children face severe hardships including:
- Poverty > affects more than a third of people
- Malnutrition > the cause of half of all child deaths
- Water and sanitation > one in five people have no clean drinking water
- Healthcare > preventable diseases kill two million people each year
- HIV/AIDS > rates are rising in adults and children
- Child labour > 10% of children aged below 14 work
- Illiteracy > one of the highest rates in the world
Each community was set up in response to a specific local need, for example:
- SOS Children’s Village Bhopal was built after the 1984 industrial gas disaster that killed thousands, leaving many children orphaned and creating a legacy of health problems
- Our community in Bhuj was established after providing emergency relief in the wake of the 2001 Gujurat earthquake
- When 200 children were found awaiting sale for adoption, we reunited those that we could with their parents and created a home for the others at a new Village in Hyderabad
- Ten years after the 2004 tsunami, two Villages built at Pondicherry and Nagapattinam to provide homes for children orphaned by the disaster, continue to flourish
A greener Village
Solar power has been lighting the streets of our newest Village in India at Tirupati near Bangalore. It is cheaper and more reliable than the power from local suppliers and creates no carbon emissions. Generously supported by our corporate partner, Pinsent Masons, the solar lights have been so successful that they have now also been installed in our oldest community at Greenfields, Delhi.
Saved from the streets
Orphaned at six with a little sister to look after, Lakshmi became one of India’s half a million street children.
“It was scary and strange. I did any work I could to feed us, even begging for food. Two years later an auntie found us, but because she had no money she sent us to the SOS Children’s Village at Tirupati. I was scared but she said it would be better. She was right.”
Today, Lakshmi and her sister go to school, eat well and are enjoying their second chance of family life.