Rourkela is a city located in the North East of India, in the Odisha state. Around 500,000 people live in this city, which was founded in 1954 to develop a steel plant. The steel plant, which was built in collaboration with Germany, still functions today and drives the economic growth of the city. However, 32% of people in Odisha state live below the poverty line.
Children in Rourkela are vulnerable to poverty, and also to malnutrition and gender inequality.
Since 2003, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Rourkela.
Gender inequality is a concerning issue in Odisha. To illustrate, in the state, 22% of girls were forced into marriage before the age of 18. This number has decreased from 40% in the past. Child marriage is a violation of the universal declaration of human rights, and the emotional damage a child suffers from a forced union is profound.
Furthermore, literacy rates in Odisha speak for themselves: the literacy rate for men is 84%, while the literacy rate for women is 69%. Offering equal opportunities to children needs to become a priority.
Although Rourkela has experienced a steady economic growth over the past years due to the steel plant in the city, poverty is still recurrent, and many people are food insecure.
32% of people in Odisha state live below the poverty line, and parents struggle to provide enough nutritious food for their children.
And thus, 29% of children are underweight. To be more specific, 31% of children in Odisha experience stunting (low height for age), a result of undernutrition. Furthermore, 18% of children experience wasting (low weight for height), which occurs when a child has not had food of adequate quality and quantity.