Known as the "Pink City" due its pink buildings and palaces, Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan in northern India. The city is rapidly expanding, as people move there to find work.
However, due to struggling infrastructure, many new migrants end up living in slums with inadequate services. In these conditions, children often suffer.
Migrants in search of a better life
Although people may move to Jaipur in search of a better life, the reality is that many face hardships in their new urban setting. If there is a lack of housing, many are forced to live in informal settlements where there is no proper sanitation system, no safe drinking water and limited access to health care and education.
On top of this, many new migrants struggle to find work. If they do, likely employment includes being a street cleaner or picking through rubbish in order to find something to sell.
Children living in slums
For children living in these circumstances, life can be very difficult. For example, malnutrition and illness are common. When parents are unable to provide for their family, children may try to earn an income by begging, selling small goods or doing menial work on the city's streets. Because of this, many children do not go to school and lack an education which may have helped them to have a better future.
Women's disadvantage impacts whole community
The majority of the families that SOS Children works with are headed by females. Women bear the brunt of the poor social and economic conditions as they struggle to keep their children
healthy and well nourished. It is women who have to fetch water from distant sources, and who have to maintain minimum levels of hygiene so that their children do not get ill.
Women also face a disadvantage in educational terms: the overall literacy rate is 76.5%, but while 87.3% of men can read, this figure drops to 64.6% for women. With a global consensus that women's empowerment is key to development, these statistics are worrying for the future of this community.
SOS Children provides a loving home for lone children
We always work in close partnership with local community-based organisations, to identify children who have lost parental care, and families who are in need of support.
Firstly, when a child can no longer stay with their family, they grow up in the care of an SOS mother in an SOS family. Together with other families, they live in SOS Children's Village Jaipur.
When children become young adults, they are ready to move on to the next stage in their development, and we aim to make that as easy as possible. Our youth programme provides the perfect stepping stone to adulthood, offering semi-independent living in accommodation shared with other people the same age. Counsellors help them prepare for the challenges of adult life, and they get to grips with unfamiliar problems such as cooking, managing money and cooperating with others in a community. At the same time, they continue their education or skills training, preparing always for life in the adult world.
Work in the community
Secondly, we do outreach work in the community to support families in need. Our SOS social centres offers a range of services to help families to stay together and take good care of their children. In addition to providing day care in the SOS nursery, we raise awareness of hygiene and child rights and give guidance on parenting skills.
We have been giving hope to vulnerable children and families in Jaipur since 1976. Our work is made by possible by our generous supporters. Will you sponsor a child today?