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Alibaug, Mumbai, Maharashtra

Alibaug Children's Village, India
Children laugh together at our SOS Children's Village in Alibaug

The small coastal town of Alibaug is located in Raigad, a district in India's Maharashtra state. It is just a short journey from Mumbai, the country's most populous city and its commercial hub. Despite this proximity to great wealth, many families in Alibaug face extreme deprivation.

We are there to ensure a better future for Alibaug's most vulnerable children. Since 2010, our Children's Village has provided a new home and a loving family for those unable to grow up with their families. We also help fragile families in the community provide a better start in life for the children in their care.

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Deprivation and ethnic discrimination make life hard

Levels of rural poverty are shockingly high in Raigad district, particularly among the Katkari people. This tribal group is one of the most underprivileged indigenous communities in western India.

With no rights to land, many Katkari families have been forced to abandon their traditional way of life gathering food in the forests and fishing. Today, they often work in brick kilns or fields; effectively leading a life of slavery.

Whole families participate in bonded labour, working for a “sheth” or master. A family makes between them an average of 1,500 bricks per day. Their contribution to the construction of essential urban centres such as Mumbai is invaluable. Yet they are paid a pittance in return.

Children face sickness, malnutrition and slavery

Katkari children are not exempt from this life of slavery. Every week, they perform six days of arduous physical labour. The demands of work and the seasonal migration of families means that Katkari children miss out on school. Those who do attend cannot keep up and their education is next to worthless.

Not only do Katkari people face lifelong hardship, they also experience widespread discrimination and have a low life expectancy. Many people across Maharashtra state suffer from HIV/AIDS. The disease attracts much stigma, and for Katkari people, this can lead to further marginalisation.

As many as 25,000 children are affected by HIV/AIDS in Maharashtra. This is not the only health problem young people face. Across the state, around two-fifths of children are underweight. Children in Raigad's deprived rural regions and those from tribal groups suffer from even higher rates of malnutrition.

Our role in Alibaug

Since 2010, we have provided much-needed care and support for the most vulnerable children in the Alibaug area. Children come to our SOS Children's Village when they can no longer live with their own families. Here, they are welcomed into a loving SOS family and cared for by an SOS mother along with their SOS brothers and sisters.

Our SOS Children's Village

Our Children's Village is a safe, peaceful environment where children can experience a sense of stability which many have been denied their whole lives.

Zoomed Alibaug, India map
Our Children's Village is located on India's western coastline in Maharashtra state

Many of the children we care for belong to the Katkari tribal group. The gruelling nature of their livelihood and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among this group mean that many Katkari children are orphaned or abandoned. Our doors are closed to no one. From our SOS Village in Alibaug, we care for vulnerable children from as far afield as Mumbai and beyond.

Our children attend local schools in Alibaug. Beyond the classroom, they enjoy a whole range of activities in the Village, from the serene - music, painting and yoga - to the more extreme - karate, for instance.

Just a few years after beginning work in Alibaug, we are already seeing fantastic results as children settle into a more stable way of life.

Helping families in the community

We do all we can to keep families together so that children can grow up with their parents. Through our work in the community, we reach hundreds of the region's most disadvantaged families every year. We focus on providing skills, education, healthcare and wide-ranging support and advice.

For communities across the region, we provide:

  • life skills training and career coaching for children aged 12-17
  • medical and hygiene support so that children grow up healthy and resilient
  • help managing finances such as savings and spending
  • workshops to raise awareness about children's and women's rights

Maharashtra is a state in which prosperity and poverty exist side by side. Our SOS Children's Village in Alibaug provides vulnerable children with a chance to thrive. Across the community, we bring support and opportunities to the most region's most disadvantaged people so that they can build hope for the future.

By supporting our work, you can help us provide these opportunities. By sponsoring a child, you can transform a life.

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