Economic growth in India has been strong over the past decade, especially in the information technology sector.  But this rising tide has not lifted all boats.  Significant disparities remain, with a large number of children still living in deprived conditions. 

One in every three malnourished children in the world lives in India. In a nation with soaring Gross Domestic Product rates and stock market indices, children continue to die of malnutrition and starvation. According to a UNICEF report, India has the highest number of undernourished children in the world at 57 million. India has the same rate of malnutrition as Ethiopia with 47 per cent of its children undernourished. Nearly 2.1 million children die of malnutrition every year in this country. The major cause for such a tragedy is the lack of public health services in remote regions, poor access to subsidised health care facilities, the declining state expenditure on public health and the lack of awareness on preventive child health care.

Anaemia affects the vast majority of pregnant women and teenage girls, stunts children’s growth and is a leading cause of maternal death and babies with low birth weight in India. Similarly, Diarrhoea, often caused by unsafe drinking water or poor sanitation, is the second leading cause of death among children.

According to a 2007 Government survey, more than 53 percent of children in India are subjected to sexual abuse, but most do not report the assaults to anyone. In 2006, the Indian government banned the employment of children under age 14 as domestic servants or in hotels, restaurants or small teashops because children were often subjected to physical violence, mental trauma and sexual abuse. But, the practice of child labour continues.

UNAIDS (the United Nations agency that co-ordinates global efforts to fight HIV) estimates that there were 5.7 million people in India living with HIV by the end of 2005, suggesting that India has a higher number of people living with HIV than any other country in the world. Children of HIV/AIDS patients are the most vulnerable as either death of their parent leave them orphaned or in a number of cases, they are already infected. According to a World Bank estimate, India has the largest number of AIDS orphans in the world and this number is expected to double in the next five years. India’s National Aids Control Organization (NACO) estimates that 60,000 Indian children have the virus, while independent organizations have said the number may be closer to 100,000. Lack of societal care and concern has led to these children being subjected to social exclusion, malnutrition, illness, exploitation of their labor, economic uncertainty, illiteracy, physical and sexual abuse.

HOPE worldwide through its children related programmes, like the child survival programme, Asharan orphanage and the malnutrition control programme in Delhi, AIDS Home of HOPE and child care in pediatric ward in Chennai, and midday meal  programmes at various locations aims at  providing basic relief and amenities to the deprived children.






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