India

The Crisis in India

DCI is conducting programs in Orissa, one of the poorest of India’s 30 provinces with a population of approximately 36,707,000. Orissa is situated adjacent to the Bay of Bengal and near Bangladesh. Almost 35% of the total population belongs to the Tribal and Scheduled Castes. They live in backward, inaccessible and remote forest areas where education, food security and health care are absent.

The people of Orissa face a number of problems, including lack of quality education, poverty, unemployment, the criminalization of society, and corruption. Orissa is one of the poorest states in India, with 47.15% of the population living below the poverty line. As a result of this severe poverty, there are about 377,500 children between the ages of 5 and 14 years are involved in work that, under any circumstance, is considered unacceptable for children. Children are bought and sold and are exploited to work as factory laborers, beggars, and domestic workers.

Orissa continues to have the second highest level of under-nutrition among the ten states in India. The prevalence of Chronic Energy Deficiency (CED) in adult men in the state is 38.6% compared to aggregate of 37.4%, whereas the CED prevalence in the adult women is 46% against 39.3% aggregate. Malnutrition is common and contributes to the spread of many life-threatening infectious diseases. Millions of people in the state (nearly 70 per cent of the rural population and 40 per cent of the urban population) are unable to meet the basic standards of living. Access to healthcare is very limited and food supply is very much dependent on crop performance in an area regularly subject to flooding and droughts.

Most people speak only Oriya, the regional language, and often only local dialects. Very few children attend school. One of the main vectors for breaking the cycle of poverty and dependence in places like Orissa is education. By educating the many small children of the villages and tribes, they can acquire the tools to build a better future for themselves and their communities. Ensuring basic health care, sanitation and nutritional practices among children are all essential to minimize infant mortality. Childhood blindness is another problem that is preventable and curable if sufficient resources are provided.

Our Response

Starting in 2009, in collaboration with NYSASDRI and Kalinga Eye Hospital, DCI introduced its Childhood Blindness Prevention program to restore the vision of deprived children through surgery and refractive services. We provide general eye care in the catchment area of a population totaling one million, focusing on child eye care but also meeting all expenses for adult eye care in 7 districts of Orissa.

DCI also sponsors children in Dhenkanal district to provide them quality education. So far we have sponsored 100 children from 30 villages who study in ODM Community School, an English Medium School set up by NYSASDRI. NYSASDRI has opened similar school in interior pockets of two other districts, Rayagada and Malkanagiri. There are currently 350 children on the waiting list who require education but need the support of potential sponsors like you to attend school.

Partners

  • NYSASDRI
  • Suyam Charitable Trust
  • Kalinga Eye Hospital