Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Tirupati is a major city and pilgramage hub in the Chittoor district of India's Andhra Pradesh province.
The district is very poor and rural parts are underdeveloped. Parents have limited awareness of their children's needs and many youngsters are forced to work due to poverty.
At the moment, we are only able to take single donations towards our work in Tirupati because all our children are fully sponsored.
If you would like to sponsor a child, we run 34 other SOS Children's Villages India and 125 countries around the world, and sponsorships are available in most of the countries where we work.
Education sacrificed for a family income
Tirupati is a famous tourist destination and pilgrimage site. Hindus from across the region make pilgrimage to the renowned Venkateswara Swamy temple, which is dedicated to Venkateswara, a Hindu god who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Despite its status as an economic hub, the villages and settlements in the rural regions around Tirupati are very poor, and many children grow up in appalling conditions. There is little in the way of primary healthcare provision, and families often sacrifice their children's education to stay financially afloat, conscripting them to the family business or sending them to work to contribute to the household income.
Our work in Tirupati
Our central aim is to ensure children from poor and struggling families are able to grow up with a loving family. First and foremost, we work with vulnerable families from the local community to ensure that they can grow up with their parents. When this is not possible, we offer them a loving home in an SOS family, where they grow up in the care of an SOS mother.
Supporting families throughout the community
Today, we work with families in four of the poorest villages near Tirupati, reaching nearly 1,000 children from impoverished families, and helping many more through the services we provide and support networks we help establish. These villages are very remote and getting by is tough, since Chittoor is prone to drought.
Children's living conditions are not good in these communities. Often, health and hygiene is poor, and parents lack awareness of their children's needs and how best to meet them. Many children fail to get regular health checks. Schools do exist but the quality of education is often low. Parents lack the skills to work regular jobs with reliable pay, meaning that children often have to work to contribute to the family income. This combination of factors can have dire consequences, leaving many children at risk of lifelong hardship.
We tackle all of these problems. We raise awareness of children's rights and healthcare needs, and provide healthcare servies so that those needs can be met, and we have recently been rolling out a Hepatitis B vaccinations. We offer training in local trades such as crop and animal farming so that parents can work. We help families get loans so that they can start their own businesses. We provide after-school classes to supplement children's learning. This way, we ensure children are getting the right start in life.
Providing a home when no one else can
Most of the children living in our Village in Tirupati are orphans. Many we found on the streets, living alone with no one in the world to care for them.
When a child comes into our care, they receive a warm welcome into their new SOS family. In the care of their SOS mother, they get to know their new brothers and sisters and enjoy the very best care as they grow up.
Children in the Village enjoy a range of activities. They are a sporty crowd and like to play lots of games, especially on big festive occasions such as Independence Day. Arts, crafts and music are popular too.
It's not all fun and games, and we're always keen to prepare children for success in the future. At the Children's Club, children develop their leadership qualities and social skills, Sundays are spent at English club, and computer lab is open early each morning. Our main aim is to help every child grow up into a well-rounded, happy human being, ready to realise their potential.