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The “urban poor” is a rising phenomenon in most of the major cities in India.

Many of them migrated from rural areas years ago and the poor from the villages are still flocking to the city, hoping for a better future.  While some benefit from the opportunities of the city, a vast majority of those with low skill levels are left behind and find themselves struggling with the day to day challenges of city life. They are caught up in the vortex of overcrowded living, lack of clean water, filthy sewage, undernourishment, unemployment, and crippling social problems such as crime and violence. Their problems will keep worsening if not addressed aggressively.

India has the highest population of children below the age of 18. 41% of the total population and over 4% of them are orphans. Poverty has been a significant contributor to the big number of orphan children. A large number of children in India struggle to survive, leave alone having access to education and other welfare measures. Some of these children end up being trafficked or pushed into illegal works.

One distressing factor and issue of concern was the high prevalence of child abuse, with 23.7% of the children reporting abuse in the form of violence at home or on the streets. Among them the girl child is the most vulnerable. There is a high prevalence of infections, underweight, and under-nutrition. Many of them are bound by the shackles of their homes with no education or opportunity to pursue their dreams. Child marriage is still prevalent, along with sexual abuse and trafficking. It hurts to be a girl child.

Education is the best means by which social transformation can be effected. It affects the socio- political and economic life style of the people. It is the only means by which the vicious circle of poverty and social evils that enslave people can be broken.

– Shino Varghese

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