Poverty continues to exist in the "Silicon Valley of India"
Bangalore is located in the south-east of India, in the state of Karnataka. With 8.5 million inhabitants, it is the third most populous city in India. It is a cultural, educational and economic centre in the region. Although a lot of economic growth has been attributed to the IT sector, the development of industry has also played an important role.
Children having fun outside (photo: SOS archives).
Over the past decades the city has been growing at alarming rates. People from nearby rural areas, as well as from neighbouring states, have come to Bangalore in search of a better life. Unfortunately, this dream is often not fulfilled. The rate of urban poverty is high. The increasing population has put a lot of pressure on the local infrastructure, which has not been developed to keep up with the growing demand. This lack of infrastructure and services affects all those living in poverty in Bangalore. These vulnerable families face many disadvantages regarding the competition for land, infrastructure and services. There are a growing number of slums and more and more people living in them - some families have been living in slums for two, or even three generations. People living here have inadequate access to sanitation facilities and clean water as well as to services including health and education. Diseases such as scabies, diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and eye infections are common.
Families living in poverty struggle to meet their basic needs. Children often do not go to school, but do odd jobs or beg and sell goods on the streets. Some families manage to send their children to school but are extremely vulnerable to any change in circumstances; if a family member falls ill, has an accident or dies, the family plummets into abject poverty. Female-headed households are amongst the most vulnerable. Many children living in such conditions are at risk of losing parental care.
We work closely with the local community
SOS Children's Village Bangalore is located in the Hulimavu neighbourhood about 16 km to the south of Bangalore. We work closely with local agencies and community-based organisations in order to identify families who are in need and provide them with the support they require to improve their lives.
What we do in Bangalore
A central part of the work that SOS Children's Villages carries out in Banglore is related to supporting local children and families. We run a family strengthening programme to enable families to stay together and take good care of their children. We aim to raise awareness of hygiene and children's rights and give guidance on parenting skills. We provide families with food, educational support and medical treatment. We have a sick bay which administers basic medical care. In order for families to generate income, we offer them vocational training, career counselling and advice on how to look for a job. We train people in advanced animal husbandry and tailoring or help them set up small businesses selling vegetables.
Talented children put on a show during a village celebration (photo: SOS archives).
If children can no longer stay with their families, they find a loving home with one of the 16 SOS families, where they grow up with their sisters and brothers. The children attend the local kindergartens and schools - this helps with their integration into the community. At SOS Children's Village Bangalore, special importance is attached to the teaching of sports, music and traditional dancing. We have a well-equipped learning centre, which includes a library and a computer centre. Children from our family strengthening programme are encouraged to attend the classes that are offered here.
When the young adults are ready to leave their SOS families they join our SOS Youth Programme. With the support of qualified professionals they are guided through this new stage of their lives, as they start vocational training courses, attend higher education or look for work. The young people are encouraged to develop perspectives for their future, learn to shoulder responsibility and increasingly make their own decisions.