India

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The story of India is one of growth, gains and gaps. Over the past decade, India has witnessed accelerated economic growth, emerging as the world’s fourth-largest economy. Still, nearly 30 percent of the Indian population lives in poverty . Progress has seen the near eradication of polio, as well as increases in literacy rates and primary school enrollment. But there has been limited change in the practice of key behaviors related to child well-being, such as exclusive and early breastfeeding, immunization, hygiene and sanitation. Also, issues related to child protection, gender discrimination and vulnerabilities of children associated with rapid urbanization are becoming more pronounced. Rapid urbanization has also made access to clean water difficult for many. Areas requiring systemic changes — such as provision of quality services and emergency preparedness — have a long way to go.

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 delivery by professional caregivers, exclusive breastfeeding, immunization, hygiene and sanitation and integrated management of childhood illnesses. ChildFund also addresses malnutrition in India, teaching caregivers about nutritious foods that are locally available, and encouraging good nutritional practices at home. Early childhood development centers offer safe and caring environments for infants and young children, with a goal of ensuring sustained protection of the children within the community.

ChildFund programs for children ages 6-14 years focus on providing quality education in India by moving beyond the four walls of the classroom and reaching out to the larger community through child clubs, parent committees and school-management committees. Our Reading Improvement Program (RIP) and School Quality Improvement Program (SQuIP) help elementary-school children achieve acceptable competency levels. These accelerated learning programs address issues for education in India such as school management, supervision and the overall learning environment, accountability and teacher training. In ChildFund program areas, the number of children finishing primary schools in India is higher than the national average – and they are building the confidence to express their views as leaders.

ChildFund’s programs for youth provide vocational training and skill development, as well as support youths’ pursuit of higher education in India. Youth clubs and youth resource centers offer opportunities for learning life skills, problem solving, leadership, conflict management and decision making. Through this training, many of the youth are able to find jobs in the formal sector or pursue self-employment. Training on teen reproductive and sexual health is also provided to young Indians, as well as awareness of gender roles. Engaging youth in positive ways prepares them to be a force for positive change in their communities and nation.

India’s rapid economic growth in the past 30 years has helped bring opportunities for many, but it has also brought economic inequality on a large scale. As a result, millions of children must work hazardous, poorly paid jobs to make a living. Some industries in particular prefer child workers for their small size, like the mining industry. Their small size allows them to fit in very small spaces underground, which poses a dangerous threat to health in the short and long term.

Progress has been made toward reducing child labor in India, with child labor laws expanding in 2006 and 2008. In 2009, a law was passed mandating free and compulsory education for all children aged 6-14. However, while child labor has been an illegal practice, it is still rampant. Vulnerable children are not threatened just by child labor; child trafficking and child marriage are also major issues in India.

 

 

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Sahlha

  • September 27, 2009

    5 years old

  • India

$28/month

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