SOS Children’s Villages supports individual children, young people and families so that they can thrive (photo: SOS Children’s Villages India).

With around 14 million inhabitants, Kolkata is one of the largest cities in the country. After Indian independence in 1947, the city suffered from economic decline and political unrest and was nicknamed "the dying city". Now, thanks mainly to the IT services sector, it has recovered and is considered the cultural capital of India. Kolkata is a city of stark contrasts, with British flair and a vibrant cultural scene on the one hand, and great poverty and population growth on the other.

Since 1977, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Kolkata.

Premature deaths due to pollution

Children victims of pollution

Kolkata is severely affected by pollution. Due to population growth and an increase of economic activities, not only has the waste in the city increased, but also the water and air pollution. An estimated 50,000 people have been victims of premature death due to pollution. In addition, groundwater, the main source of drinking water, is declining due to population growth and is polluted by industrial sewage treatment. Children are particularly vulnerable to air, waste and water pollution, as they have a negative impact on their health and living conditions.

People in Kolkata live in slums

Children live in poor housing

Kolkata is growing rapidly. This is especially evident in the infrastructure, which can hardly keep up with the city’s growth. After Bangladesh's independence, the city opened its doors to millions of refugees from Bangladesh. As the city now has more than fourteen million inhabitants, many people who move to Kolkata in search of a better life and job opportunities end up in one of the slums on the outskirts of the city. These slums lack affordable housing, proper sanitation and clean drinking water. An estimated 1.5 million people in the city live in slums. Children are the most affected by the poverty prevailing in these slums and have no access to medical care and education.

Your support makes a difference for children in Kolkata

SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities to offer a wide range of support that is adapted to the local context. We always work in the best interest of the children, young people and families.
Can stay together
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
Brothers and sisters proudly displaying their medals and cups they won together at a sports festival. Siblings grow up together and develop bonds that often last a lifetime (photo: SOS Children’s Villages India).

How your support helps in Kolkata

Strengthening families and communities
When parents face hardships, they can sometimes struggle to give children the care they need. SOS Children’s Villages works with local partners and communities. Each family needs different support so that they can stay together. This support can include workshops on parenting and children’s rights. We also run training so that parents can get the skills they need to get a job or start their own businesses. Likewise, we ensure that children can get medical help and go to school.
Caring for children who cannot live with their families
Some children cannot stay with their families, even with additional support. When this happens, they can find a new home in SOS Children’s Villages. Here the children can build safe and lasting relationships. All the children in our care have access to education and healthcare. Wherever possible, we work closely with the children’s family of origin. If children can return to live with their families, we help them adapt to this change.
Supporting young people to become independent
To help young people become confident and independent, our local team works closely with each young person to develop a plan for their future. We support young people and also help them prepare for the labour market and increase their employment prospects. For example, young people can attend workshops and trainings run by SOS Children’s Villages. They also improve their skills through taking part in different projects with local mentors and businesses.