We support approximately 68,500 children with 264 projects in India, the project country where our aid work started, after Kindernothilfe was founded back in 1959. Over the years, our work has steadily increased. Today we have a strong network with local partners who run our projects.


Equal rights for all

In India more than one-third of the population lives below the poverty line. The caste system still remains deeply entrenched in Indian society and has a corresponding impact on children. Girls have a particularly hard life.

Our work focuses on poor rural regions and slums in big cities. In urban centres our projects help street children, sexually abused children, and families affected by HIV/AIDS. We also support community-based rehabilitation programmes for children with disabilities, finance programmes for vocational training, and programmes to combat child trafficking and temple prostitution.

The challenges

In India there is a huge gap between rich and poor. Nearly one-third of the population has to eke out an existence on less than a dollar a day. It is primarily the Dalits, the “untouchables”, and the Adivasi, the descendents of the aboriginal population of India, who live lives of utter destitution on the fringes of society.

A girl in India standing next to a temple skulpture. (Source: Pascal Amos Rest)
Empowering girls: We stand up against temple prostitution and child labour.

It is primarily girls and women, however, who are vulnerable. Temple prostitution and widow immolation are still practiced in the country. Children constitute roughly one-third of the Indian population and nearly half of all children under the age of five are malnourished. Every year, two million children die as a result of malnourishment and avoidable infectious diseases.

More than 20 million street children live in megacities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, and Bangalore. The fact, that the number of 6 to 10-year-olds among India’s street children is growing, gives cause for concern. Additionally, a growing number of children fall victim to child trafficking and sexual abuse. Nearly 177,000 children were officially reported as missing in 2011, an indication of the extent of child trafficking in India. The number of unrecorded cases is presumably even larger.

Although virtually every child is sent to school, only roughly 62 percent reach the fifth grade, and child labour is rampant across the country. Dalit and Adivasi girls are particularly disadvantaged. Not even half of all Indian women can read.

Please note: All India maps are based on the maps provided by the CIA World Factbook including the "line of control" in the Kashmir region.

  • Our work in the country

    In India, Kindernothilfe places special importance on improving healthcare. Children as well as their parents and entire village communities learn important basic principles of hygiene and receive vaccinations. This makes it possible to prevent most lethal infectious diseases.

    Our projects also help families that are affected by HIV and AIDS. Infected mothers receive drugs and learn how to protect their children against HIV infections. Health Centres were set up where AIDS orphans can find refuge.

    Ensuring regular school education plays an important role in our work. Our projects give street children and working girls and boys the opportunity to learn to read and write. Basic education is a key requirement to break out of the vicious cycle of poverty. Specially designed rehabilitation services allow children with disabilities to attend a regular school and lead a perfectly normal life.

    We also support additional vocational education programmes for young people. Since temple prostitution remains a serious problem, we endeavour to raise the awareness of this issue in an attempt to finally put an end to this tradition.

  • Key figures on India

    • 1.2 billion people live in India
    • 29 % of Indians are under the age of 15
    • 43 % of all children under the age of 5 are underweight (the second highest rate in the world)
    • 12 % of all children have to perform child labour
    • 1/3 of the population lives below the poverty line
    • 2.1 million people are infected with HIV (the third highest rate in the world)

    Sources: World Factbook, United Nations

India: Combating child labour

India: Combating child labour

Factories are no place for children. With our local partner Marialaya, we work to combat child labour in Tirupur’s textile industry.

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Who we are

Who we are

Kindernothilfe is a non-governmental organisation founded in Germany in 1959. We partner with local non-governmental organisations in 33 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to realize and protect child rights.

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How we work

How we work

Learn more about how we realize child rights.

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