With a climate that varies from alpine to subtropical, India, the
world’s second-most-populated country, is a land of significant diversity. More
than 2,000 ethnic groups exist among more than 1 billion people. Though India’s
economic power is steadily improving, 40 percent of the population still lives
in poverty. Overpopulated urban centers, widespread poverty, severe ethnic and
gender inequities and an HIV/AIDS crisis make life more than difficult for
hundreds of thousands of children and their families.
ChildFund has served children in India since 1951.
To ensure healthy beginnings for children, ChildFund India
emphasizes safe motherhood and early childhood care, starting with pre- and
postnatal care for women. Projects focus on working with service providers to
encourage institutional delivery, exclusive breastfeeding, immunization,
hygiene and sanitation and integrated management of childhood illnesses.
With 2.4 million people in India living with HIV and AIDS, the
country’s annual death rate from the disease is the world’s third highest. We
work to educate, test and treat high-risk groups through the Link Workers’
Scheme (LWS), which operates in 1,900 villages in 19 districts of the southern
state of Andhra Pradesh.
In India, about 40 percent of children across all age groups drop out of school each year, so addressing issues of education is a key part of ChildFund India’s work.
The School Quality Improvement program works to improve schools where we work. In 2012, 145 schools benefited, with improvements to
infrastructure, pedagogy and community participation. ChildFund India’s Reading
Improvement Program, which enhances reading and comprehension abilities in
children, was offered in 146 schools.
Clubs and Committees
Children’s Clubs are a hallmark of ChildFund’s work in India, and
there are more than 1,000 Children’s Clubs in the areas where we work. These
clubs help raise awareness about child rights, health and hygiene, nutrition
and education. Armed with knowledge and skills, children take action such as
planting kitchen gardens to provide vegetables for Early Childhood Development
centers and mobilizing communities to help clean drainage ditches for better
sanitation and disease control.
Children’s Clubs can be designed around specific purposes as well:
Child trafficking and early marriage are commonplace in India, and after the
2004 tsunami thousands of children and adolescents were left vulnerable to
these practices, especially those who lost their parents. Many were faced with
child labor and violence. To combat the abuse, we formed coalitions with
community members, including 164 Children’s Clubs and 41 Child Well-Being
Committees, to protect those who could not protect themselves.
With a huge, dense population and low academic achievement, it
follows that youth unemployment is high, leaving young people at risk for
exploitative labor, human trafficking or worse. ChildFund provides programs for
training youth in employable skills such as carpentry, computer work, tailoring
and farming, depending on local markets.
Youth clubs and youth resource centers provide opportunities for
learning life skills, problem solving, leadership, conflict management and