We are huge supporters of ActionAid, and wanted to share news of their work in India with you. Have a watch of the video, and a read about their latest action and activity in the region. If you can spare any pennies this month, I know they would really appreciate it.
India is the largest democracy in the world, with a population of more than a billion.
Although its economy has expanded rapidly in recent years, the country contains the largest concentration of poor people in the world and almost half of children are underweight (one of the highest rates globally).
North India flooding
Heavy rainfall has caused landslides and flash floods in North India. Official estimates state that at least 1,000 people have died, but that figure is predicted to rise to over 5,000. Over 30,000 people have been rescued so far but at least 50,000 are still stranded in remote regions. ActionAid is working in the affected areas.
ActionAid in India
ActionAid India was our first country programme, established in 1972 it now reaches over one million people.
Through a network of over 300 local organisations and community groups we work to improve the status of poor and marginalised people – mainly Dalits ('untouchables' in the Indian caste system), tribal people, women, children, homeless and disabled people.
For example, we recently supported 27,000 Dalit women to apply for their own land. And just last year, the bonded labour campaign resulted in the government rescuing 600 bonded labourers (more commonly reffered to as 'slaves').
A voice for women
70 per cent of the female workforce is engaged in agriculture, yet only 10 per cent own land. Our HungerFREE campaign supports the rights of landless women farmers.
Initiatives include savings and credit schemes to help farmers invest in their own small farms or new farming equipment.
Anrifa, pictured left, used to suffer domestic abuse before joining a local ActionAid women's group. She is now an active member working to improve her community.
"They [her husband and in-laws] used to lock me in the house. My life was just doing chores. Nothing was possible until ActionAid started visiting our home."
Health and sanitation
Health services are limited in rural areas, and ActionAid India works to provide mobile clinics to provide care for pregnant women, immunisation for children and regular health checks.
We also train local community health workers and campaign to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS (India has the second largest number of people in the world now living with HIV/AIDS).
More than half of all Indian children drop out of school before the age of 14 and the majority are female.
We work to raise awareness about the rights of children through Bal Panchayats (Children’s Parliaments) and support children to enrol in formal and non-formal education to fit in around their duties.