Hyderabad is the capital of the Telangana state, and with its 10 million inhabitants, one of the most populous cities in India.
Historically the city was known for its production of pearls, but nowadays it is an economic hub for pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies.
Hyderabad faces many challenges, trying to manage the rapid growth, while also attempting to decrease pollution levels and to eradicate gender inequality. Children suffer most from this, living in poor conditions and not receiving adequate access to health and education.
Since 2003, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Hyderabad.
Gender inequality is a major issue in Telangana. To illustrate, in the state, 23% of girls were forced into marriage before the age of 18. This is not surprising knowing that India has the highest number of child marriages in the world. 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 Telangana speak for themselves: the literacy rate for men is 80%, while the literacy rate for women is 65%. This could be due to the fact that girls often drop out of school at an early age than boys.
Hyderabad is one of the most polluted cities in South India. Due to the rapid urbanization and increased economic activity in the city, not only has waste increased, but there is also pollution of water, air and noise. 50% of the total pollution is caused by traffic pollution.
Furthermore, the city produces 4,5 tonnes of solid waste daily. Ground water, the main source of drinking water, is declining due to the increase in population, while also being polluted by industrial treatment plants. Children are especially vulnerable to these aspects of pollution. Waste, air and water pollution have a negative effect on their health and living conditions.