Ahmedabad is a city of great claims. It is India's seventh-largest city and the most populous in Gujarat state, of which it is the former capital. Forbes tipped it as a likely candidate for this decade's third fastest-growing city.
It also boasts some impressive statistics, including high literacy and a relatively low poverty rate. Nevertheless, Ahmedabad has its share of deprivation. Out of a population of 5 million, over 400,000 people live in slums, where overall literacy is much lower than the average at around two thirds.
Disappointed aspirations for slum dwellers
Gujarat state has some of India's lowest levels of poverty, in rural as well as urban areas. However, real hardship is evident in the slums of big cities such as Ahmedabad.
Families living in slums have real aspirations for their children, and many have travelled from rural parts to escape poverty and debt. However, regular employment is hard to come by, especially for those whose skills are limited. Typical trades include mill work and carpentry, but many of these people are out of work. As a result, instead of educating their children, parents are often forced to send them out to work to keep the household afloat. Many children are occupied as boot polishers or errand boys, tea-stall attendants or constructions workers.
As well as having a poor outlook, children raised in Ahmedabad's slums grow up in often squalid conditions. Almost two thirds of people lack access to clean water, leaving them vulnerable to frequent stomach upsets and skin conditions. Only 64% of households have a bathroom, while more than one in ten women do not have access to a toilet. Among waterfront slums, electricity coverage is less than 6%. To cap it all, most people cannot even call their home their own, with less than one fifth of houses being built on owned land.
SOS Children in Ahmedabad – Working with the Shreyas Foundation
In 1981, we opened an SOS Children's Village to take care of Ahmedabad's most vulnerable children. For those without parental care, we offer a warm family home and the care of a SOS mother, along with the best educational and healthcare opportunities.
We worked in partnership with another childcare charity – the Shreyas Foundation – who owned the land on which the Village was built. Today, the Children's Village in Ahmedabad is run by the Shreyas Foundation.
Where else can I sponsor a child in India?
Our supporters provide orphaned and abandoned children with a loving home in more than 30 SOS Children's Villages across India.
Where else can I sponsor a child in Gujarat?
We also care for children in Bhuj in north-western Gujarat.