Join us as we celebrate Geography Awareness Week with National Geographic and friends. This year’s theme “focuses on how geography enables us all to be intrepid explorers in our own way.”
Today we take a closer look at India, one of the countries in Asia where we work.
Just say the name of the world’s largest democracy, and almost immediately a wealth of images comes to mind. For example, saris … colorful food and clothing … the Taj Mahal … Mahatma Gandhi … and the story of incredible economic development.
As the world’s fourth-largest economy, India is a global player in many industries, including information technology, pharmaceuticals and agriculture.
Despite all these incredible accomplishments, the country still struggles with rampant inequity. Recent estimates from the World Bank show that more than 400 million Indians live in poverty.
Furthermore, the number of poor people in some of India’s poorest states has risen in the last decade because of population growth, the World Bank reports.
As India continues its massive wave of urbanization, many people in rural areas have suffered. One example is Rasik, a rice farmer whose family has farmed for generations. He can no longer make his living solely from the land.
Half his property, a 2-acre parcel of land inherited from his father, was leased to a mining company, which has stripped the once fertile land of its natural resources.
Although Rasik never attended school, he values the need for his children to receive an education.
“It is a compulsory situation for us to look for an alternative,” Rasik said. “If we educate our children, they can get jobs.”
That’s where sponsorship can help – by supporting Rasik’s daughter, Macu, with tuition, school supplies, books, transportation and room and board. She is studying to be a teacher at a nearby college, and hopes one day to teach children in her village.
“[Macu's] future is secured now,” Rasik said. “We feel we also are secure.”
Sponsor a child or aging friend in India! After clicking the link, select “view children” and then choose “India” from the drop-down menu.