Hojai is in the Nagaon district of Assam, which is a north-eastern Indian state. We began supporting families in Hojai in 1984, after many were separated and numerous children lost their parents during political unrest.
The population of Assam is ethnically mixed, and clashes often occur between different groups. Poverty levels are high in the region, and Assam is among the poorest states in India. As a result, families can struggle to provide for their children.
Poverty high, despite signs of growth
The city of Hojai produces numerous consumer goods, and is an emerging centre of information technology. In the surrounding areas, agriculture plays an important role, where rice, sugar-cane, mustard and vegetables are grown.
Despite these signs of economic prosperity, poverty is high in Assam, especially in rural areas. People living in rural areas have few basic services and infrastructures. This means they often lack access to sanitation facilities, clean drinking water or adequate health care.
Girls face trafficking and sexual exploitation
High unemployment, poverty, and political unrest affect the lives of many in this region. Children are often not sent to school because their parents can't afford it. Instead, children often have to work to earn an income and support their family.
Human trafficking is a problem in the area, as desperate people fall for the false promises of traffickers. Due to their weak position in society, women and girls are especially vulnerable to abuse. They often end up working as commercial sex workers or under exploitative conditions as domestic workers.
SOS Children supports those in need
Like elsewhere in the India, SOS Children works closely with local organisations. We deliver our services in two main ways, supporting vulnerable children and families in need.
Firstly, we support families in the community through our family support programme. Through a r
ange of services, we help families to stay together and take good care of their children. These services include raising awareness of hygiene, children's rights and positive parenting skills.
We provide families in need with food, as well as educational support and medical treatment. In order for parents to earn a living we offer vocational training, career counselling and advice on looking for a job. For example, in Hojai we have trained women in tailoring, food processing and animal husbandry. Awareness-raising workshops on subjects such as HIV/AIDS or women's legal rights are organised on a regular basis.
Secondly, when a child can no longer stay with their family, they can find a loving home with an SOS families. Here, they will grow up with SOS brothers and sisters, and cared for by an SOS mother. Older children attend local schools, and make friends with children from the community. There are many after-school activities that they can get involved in, such as learning how to play a musical instrument or doing sports.
When the young adults are ready to leave their SOS families they can join our SOS youth programmes in Sibsagar, Nagaon and Hojai itself. With the support of qualified professionals they are supported to complete vocational training courses, attend higher education and look for work.
SOS Children supports the whole community in Hojai through tailored services, giving families and children hope for a better future. Will you sponsor a child today?