Bawana was the location of the second SOS Children's Village in India. Opened in 1976, the Village is north of New Delhi, the capital of India. With a massive population growth, slums have multiplied and infrastructure is inadequate, affecting the lives of many children and families.
Our work focuses upon giving a loving home to children who are unable to live with their own families, as well as working in the community to offer education, health and vocational training services.
A booming population leaves many vulnerable
Throughout India, those from rural parts moving to urban centres in search of a better life. Located close to the capital, Bawana attracts many people looking for work and more opportunities. On top of this, thousands of people have been displaced in recent decades due to Delhi municipal authorities clearing several slums in central New Delhi.
The families forced to move to Bawana are particularly vulnerable. Not only did they loose their home, but often their livelihood too. Bawana was not ready to house so many; lacking housing, key infrastructure and essential services. Consequently, new slums sprung up, and many still live in mud huts without access to water or sanitation, healthcare or education.
Children miss out on school
Poor malnutrition and sanitation means that many children suffer from disease, and mortality rates are higher here than in wealthier areas. Unemployment is also a problem, and many parents cannot afford to put enough food on the table. Children from households like this are often unable to attend school, or drop out to go to work instead.
Our work gives hope to children and families in Bawana
We work closely with the local authorities and community organisations to find families who are in need of support. Demonstrating how the community appreciates our work, we won the title of Best Childcare Organisation 1997 from Delhi's Department of Social Welfare for our work in Bawana.
One part of our work is proving a caring and safe home for children who can no longer stay with their families. They live with one of the 20 SOS families, where they grow up with SOS brothers and sisters and are cared for by an SOS mother. Covered areas provide welcome shelter from the elements during the downpours of the rainy season and the ferocious sun of the hot period. The children attend local schools, alongside children from neighbouring families. In addition, where needed the children in our care get extra tuition so they can performance well at school.
Our youth programmes in the nearby city of Sonipat provide support to young people attending higher education and vocational training. These are in the nearby city of Sonipat, about 12km from Bawana. With the support of qualified staff, they are encouraged to take on responsibility and become independent. Young people have recently trained as nurses, hairdressers and teachers.
Supporting the whole community
The second part of our work relates to supporting children and families in the region of Bawana. Social centres provide support to families, offering essential services and advice.
We keep families healthy by offering preventative care such as vaccinations and provide treatment when children are poorly. We run workshops on important themes such as children's rights and parenting skills.
Families are stronger when they are self-sufficient, and our chief aim is to help them achieve independence. So that parents can get into work, we run literacy lessons, vocational training, career guidance and even help them get income generating initiatives up and running.
Our work in Bawana relies upon the generosity and kindness of our supporters. Will you sponsor a child today, and help these Indian families?