For whom to walk ?



Sixth largest economy in the world, India is emerging as one of the fastest growing economies in the world thanks to several advanced industries. While the share of the population benefiting from this growth continues to grow, paradoxically the number of people living below the poverty line is also increasing. 21% of the population lives below the poverty line ($1.90/day). Women, children and, in general, populations belonging to lower castes or tribal populations, are the first victims of impoverishment. India is also the country where there are the most child workers exercising jobs that are most often dangerous for their health and are thus deprived of schooling, locking them into the circle of poverty. Despite an “exemplary” democratic system, the weight of Indian culture, linked to the yet prohibited caste system, tends to take precedence over the legislature. 

Vulnerable populations, especially children, are the first to be affected. In such a situation, many children, including girls, are placed as workers or asked to leave school to earn an income for their families.  Arranged marriage remains also common practice. The rights of women and children are often flouted. On a daily basis, the local partner organisations of TdH Suisse remain mobilised alongside the children and young people and their communities.

Terre des Hommes Suisse acts in favour of children's rights and support its partner RDA in three areas:

1. Guarantee quality schooling for vulnerable children in 20 villages

Every weekday after school, for two hours, children aged 8 to 14 have the opportunity to participate in tutoring lessons. Each day is dedicated to a discipline. RDA recruits teachers specifically trained in each subject in the villages.

2. Make children actors in the improvement of their living conditions

On weekends, children can go to one of the 9 child clubs supervised by RDA. Through play, they learn the importance of their rights. They are also made aware of important themes such as the environment, their protection, education and even early marriages. With the help of the facilitators, they undertake concrete actions such as creating a play to raise awareness about water conservation or even cultivating a vegetable garden in their school, maintained by the children of the club and school, which will be used for meals in the school canteen.

3. Accompany populations towards more autonomy

RDA promotes the civic participation of villagers, with a strong emphasis on women, children and young people. In each village, the women meet once a week to discuss subjects related to their daily lives. They can also borrow money from their weekly contribution to the group common fund, in case of medical expenses, professional projects or other, which they will then repay with low interest rates.

The vigilance group for the protection of children, made up of children, young people, women, local representatives and a community health professional is in charge of child protection issues in the villages. They are being particularly active in current cases of children not returning to school following the pandemic and the various confinments. The group  visits families to understand the reasons for the absence of children from school and raises their awareness of the importance of education as a key lever for breaking out of the circle of poverty.

india in figures *

Capital: New Delhi
Surface: 3 287 259 km²
Population : 1 380 004 385
Rural population: 65%
Official languages: Hindi, anglais et 21 autres langues régionales (santali and bengali in the Jharkhand)
Main religions: Hindus (79,8%), muslims (14,2%), christians (2,8%), sikhs (1,7%), bouddhists (0,7%)
Currency: Indian rupee
Unemployment rate: 7,7% (in the formal sector – 80% of the economy is informal)
Poverty rate: 21%
Net primary school attendance rate: 90%
Literacy rate: 78%
Child labour: 7%
HDI: 131/189

* Sources: World Bank, UNICEF, Population Data

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