Trichur - or Thrissur, to use its Indian name - is located in Kerala, India's most developed state. A centre of learning for centuries, and an important economic hub in India's south, Trichur is often known as the “Cultural Capital of Kerala.” Nevertheless, recent years have seen a rise in the number of urban poor living in Trichur, and there are an estimated 133 slums in and around the city.
One of Trichur's biggest industries today is tourism. Another source of income for many people is money sent home from those who have migrated to the regions such as the Arabian Peninsula. To this day, around half the population of the wider Trichur province depend on agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods.
Poverty in a successful city
In recent decades, the government has striven to improve living conditions in the state of Kerala - with much success. Literacy rates in Kerala are among the highest in the country, along with life expectancy. Nevertheless, more and more people are living in poverty.
In Trichur's estimated 133 slums, people are forced to live in ramshackle homes, lacking essentials such as drinking water and adequate toilets. The risk of poverty is especially high among women, particularly following bereavement or divorce, when for the first time they are forced to become the primary breadwinners.
Growing up amid squalor
For children growing up in Trichur's slums, conditions are bad and opportunities scarce. With a high risk of sickness and malnutrition, many of the children able to attend school struggle to concentrate and are more likely to drop out. Many children, however, do not go to school at all, either staying at home to help their parents or going out to earn money for their families. Staying safe, keeping healthy, even getting enough food - these are daily challenges for children growing up in Trichur's slums.
What are we doing for families in Trichur?
Our Children's Village is located a little way out of the city itself. With the help of local government and community groups, we work to identify families in need of support in the region around the Village.
Food, nutritional support and healthcare for fragile families
Our focus is on families on the verge of break-up. We support these families through a comprehensive package of support and guidance, working with parents to help improve parenting. We work to raise awareness of children's essential needs, from hygiene and protection from disease, to women and children's rights.
For families who are really struggling, we provide food, nutritional support and financial help. We also help families achieve independence by providing the support they need to start their own businesses. In this area, the opportunities are wide-ranging - from tailoring and textile printing to making money from livestock.
SOS Children is there for families in extreme need. In Trichur, we work to ensure children grow up healthy, get the education they need, and enjoy the essential ingredients of a happy childhood...