India is the world’s largest and most populous country with an explosive population growth. The economy has grown steadily in recent decades and at the same time inequality has increased. Girls and women are among those with the worst economic conditions, especially in urban slums and in rural areas.
70 percent of India’s surface water is polluted. This is mainly due to uncontrolled emissions of toxic waste from the industrial areas. The consequence of this is a population suffering from chronic diseases and health problems due to poor hygiene and sanitation and children are particularly vulnerable.
Despite the fact that Iandet has one of the world’s fastest growing economies, millions of children and adults are still completely without safety nets or safety.
Girls are discriminated against
Discrimination against women and girls is deeply rooted in all levels of Indian society. About 7 out of 10 children who are forced to drop out of school after primary school are girls. The reasons may be that the family considers that the long journeys to and from school are unsafe or that the girl is forced to marry.
The use of dementia is increasing. Marriage means that the bride’s parents pay a sum of money or property to the future spouse’s family, which means that girls and young women are linked to a financial debt. India has the highest number of homicides and suicides linked to dowry in the world. Every year, thousands of young women are driven to suicide after being subjected to torture and harassment linked to an unpaid dowry.
In India, there is a widespread preference for sons over daughters, which means that girls get worse conditions from day one. On the one hand, girl fetuses are aborted just because they would rather have a son, and on the other hand, newborn girls have a worse chance of surviving and risk being abandoned just because they are girls. Girl children receive less food and care and their development is limited. Although early ultrasounds that determine sex and sex-selective abortions are illegal, they are widespread throughout Indian society, especially among well-to-do families. India is one of the countries in the world where the gender imbalance is greatest and most girls are missing.
Record reduction in child marriage
A glimmer of light for girls’ conditions in India is that the proportion of child marriages has dropped drastically in the last decade. According to UNICEF , 27 percent of girls were married before their 18th birthday in 2018, compared to 47 percent in 2008. This is a record decrease that has significantly affected global statistics. The progress is partly due to more girls finishing school and the government investing in teenage girls and increasing public awareness that child marriage is illegal and harmful.
we reach the most vulnerable children
Since we started working in India in 1979, Plan International has reached millions of children and adults in some of the poorest and most marginalized areas. Among other things, we focus on activities that directly benefit about 90,000 children who live in extreme conditions, including street children, child workers and children who have been trafficked.
Plan International works continuously with awareness-raising efforts to change the view of girls, raise their status and stop child marriage. Among other things, a campaign has been carried out to allow more girls to be born. In the city of Delhi, Plan International is implementing a comprehensive and long-term program to make the city safe for girls and young women.
Girls get secure education thanks to technology
Not all girls have the opportunity to move freely. In Delhi, Plan International and Ericsson are therefore investing in digital education for girls.
Twelve digital training centers have been established in Delhi’s most marginalized areas and within three years, 15,000 girls will have access to digital technology.
– Since I started going to the center, I have become more confident and better at having open communication with other people, says Gunjan, who is one of the girls who got a chance to get back in education.
In India, almost half of the girls do not go to school for more than ten years. One of the many reasons why girls quit is that they often have to travel long distances and that parents are worried about their daughters’ safety. In this project, Plan International wants to reach isolated girls and women around Delhi so that they can receive information and knowledge despite being isolated. To reach out with the project, we have, among other things, traveled around different areas and informed. The information meetings have been held together with parents to explain why the daughters’ schooling is important.
Gunjan is one of the girls who got the chance after her mother realized what a difference education can make. Now she dreams of becoming a teacher.
– I finished school when I was eight years old. Then Dad did not think it made sense for me to go to school anymore, girls should still only take care of the household when they grow up. But at the center I have studied science, English and math, she says.
Thanks to the project, 15,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 25 have gained access to the internet.
Girls want a safer delhi
People think that girls are weak and we are considered easy targets. In India, cases of harassment are increasing and many are not reported.
Ananya, 15 years
Delhi is home to over seven million girls and women, and according to a survey, 90 percent feel insecure in the capital. Ananya is one of almost 400 girls and women between the ages of 13 and 25 who have received training in self-defense through Plan International’s cooperation with the police in Delhi. In total, more than 22,000 girls, boys, young people and parents have been involved in various community activities and 200,000 inhabitants have supported the work for a safer city for girls.
Freedom from restrictive standards
Literature festival for children
I loved being at the festival, we got to show off our talents. I learned a lot and made new friends too.
Schoolboy who participated in the festival
Indian children read less and less. Most books portray girls and boys very stereotypically. Plan International has launched an annual children’s literature festival to promote reading and encourage children to think about how girls and boys are described in stories and pictures. In the first year, the festival reached 116,000 children in 776 schools.
Facts about India
Capital: New Delhi
Population: 1,324 million
Life expectancy: 68 years
Infant mortality rate: 35 per 1,000 births
Proportion of children starting school: 93.1%
Proportion of women in Parliament: 11.8%