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India

Demography

With the world's fastest growing population, India is projected to overtake China as the world's most populous country by 2030. This presents a number of future demographic and social challenges concerning healthcare, welfare and education as the age structure is disproportionately young, resulting in a very high dependency ratio.

However, this problem is largely being mitigated by strong economic growth and international integration into financial markets.

Economy

India's main industries are textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software and pharmaceuticals. As economic composition rapidly transitions away from agriculture and manufacturing towards services (31% majority), the standard of living has risen substantially. At the same time, impoverishment continues to debilitate the formal and informal economy with almost a third of the population (29.8%) still living below the poverty line.

Geography / Culture

India is located in South East Asia and is ranked seventh largest country by area. It shares land borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and Bangladesh, and its coastline is bounded by the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal.

India has a rich and vibrant past originating out of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation more than 4 000 years ago. A long history of empirical domination and cross-tribal trade routes has brought the country to become the ethnically and linguistically diverse cultural mosaic that it is today.

Government & Politics

Having gained independence on August 15, 1947, India is now a federal republic. The parliament is elected by a democracy and legislation is governed according to their constitution, which distributes power between the federal government and states. Corruption is a problem, with a world ranking of 85/175 on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index.

Issues Facing India Today

  • Casteism: Caste-derived hierarchies have administered social practices in India for more than three thousand years. The Dalit-Bahujan, or ‘oppressed majority’, number more than 250 million and are considered ‘untouchable’ by more affluent castes. National legislation to outlaw the mistreatment of the Dalit-Bahujan is often overlooked and their basic human rights to food, clothing, shelter, medical care, jobs and education is commonly denied.
  • Female feticide: A national preference for sons over daughters has lead to a disproportionate ratio of males to females, particularly for ages younger than six. Gender-based discrimination is another issue, whereby women often lack access to education and employment. This usually leaves them no work opportunity but within the informal sector, where pay and safety is unregulated and consequently compromised.
  • Human trafficking: Forced labour, commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary marriage are highly problematic in India, especially in regions where the sex ratio is particularly skewed. Children are often specifically targeted to become beggars, domestic servants, agriculture workers, factory workers and sometimes combatants in terrorist organisations.
  • Education: Despite increasing enrollment, national retention and completion rates are experiencing little improvement, particularly in rural India. Systemic difficulties include lack of qualified teachers, overcrowded classrooms, generational lack of opportunity, teacher absenteeism and favouring memorisation over problem-solving techniques.

 

Sources:

CIA WorldFact Book - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/in.html

Transparency International - http://www.transparency.org/country#IND_DataResearch

United Nations Population Fund – www.unfpa.org

United nation Development Reports - http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/IND

TBC India - http://www.tbcindia.nic.in/key.html

Global Campaign for Education – http://unicef.org/India_education_1551

Dalit Education
  • Category: Education, Life / Vocational Skilling, Micro-enterprise
  • Grant: $25,001 to 75,000
  • Target Group: Displaced people
  • Gender: Any
  • Age: Children
  • Country: India

Dalit Education

The worldview of the Indian people towards the Dalit (lowest caste) means that they are denied the basic human right to education.  As global awareness has increased, international pressure has brought about some level of equality by reserving some places in educational institutions and government employment.

Dalit Microfinance Programs
  • Category: Micro-enterprise
  • Grant: < $10,000
  • Target Group: Marginalised people
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: Adults
  • Country: India

Dalit Microfinance Programs

India’s Dalits have recently taken drastic strides toward social equality and economic empowerment through our partner’s nationwide movement to establish customised education centres.  In these centres, Dalits can attain employable skills to carry them out of the poverty trap that their lineage has suffered under for so long.

Education and Vocational training
  • Category: Education, Life / Vocational Skilling
  • Grant: < $10,000
  • Target Group: Marginalised people
  • Gender: Any
  • Age: Children
  • Country: India

Education and Vocational training

Casteism leaves no respite within Indian spheres of education.  The ‘untouchables’ are without rights and frequently subject to abuse and neglect from castes above.  Whilst growing international awareness has led to some positive intervention, it is from this group of people that the bulk of India’s unskilled and uneducated still come.

Female Empowerment
  • Category: Education, Female empowerment, Life / Vocational Skilling, Micro-enterprise
  • Grant: $25,001 to 75,000
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: Adolescents
  • Country: India

Female Empowerment

Although the Indian family as a social institution is well known for the emotional and physical support that it provides to its extended members, it sometimes fails to respond to the needs of women, especially for women in difficult circumstances.

Holistic Community Development
  • Category: Anti-trafficking, Education, Environment, Health
  • Grant: $25,001 to 75,000
  • Target Group: Any
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: Children
  • Country: India

Holistic Community Development

In Southern India we have a project underway to improve access to health services, education and community support.  The region has many of the social issues typical of a developing nation including poor health, employment insecurity, domestic violence, uncontrolled crime, lack of opportunity for higher study, personal debt and high suicide rates. 

Holistic Community Development
  • Category: Health, Life / Vocational Skilling, Water Security
  • Grant: $75,001 - $150,000
  • Target Group: Marginalised people
  • Gender: Any
  • Age: Any
  • Country: India

Holistic Community Development

In the quarry villages of rural India, poverty manifests in many ways.  It is therefore necessary to tackle the problem with a holistic community development approach, building capacity through participation in every way possible.

Jogini Rehabilitation
  • Category: Anti-trafficking, Child protection, Education, Health
  • Grant: $25,001 to 75,000
  • Target Group: Marginalised people
  • Gender: Any
  • Age: Any
  • Country: India

Jogini Rehabilitation

The Jogini tradition has been part of southern Indian life for many centuries.  It is recognised as a form of modern day slavery whereby girls as young as 4 years-old are dedicated in marriage to a local deity and must then prostitute themselves to men as an act of worship.

School Project
  • Category: Education, Social Enterprise
  • Grant: $75,001 - $150,000
  • Target Group: Any
  • Gender: Any
  • Age: Children
  • Country: India

School Project

In one of India's most impoverished rural regions, illiteracy is generational as each child gets caught in the same web of disadvantage as their parents and grandparents.  Teacher absenteeism is high, and student enrolment is low because buildings are dilapidated and roads leading to and from schools are scarcely maintained.

Tailor Training
  • Category: Life / Vocational Skilling
  • Grant: $10,001 to $25,000
  • Target Group: Ethnic minorities, Marginalised people
  • Gender: Female
  • Age: Adults
  • Country: India

Tailor Training

A deep-seated caste system has caused the Dalits to not only live a life of limited opportunity, but also perceive their lowly status as permanent and prevailing as it is considered deserved for past ills. Typically, they must endure chronic underemployment with no job security and little opportunity to save for times of illness or their children’s education.