Mussoorie – Happy Valley

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

Mussoorie is a town located in Uttarakhand state, in the upper north of India. Around 30,000 people live here, in this town nicknamed “Queen of the Hills” at an altitude of 2,000 meters. 5,000 Tibetan refugees live in exile in Mussoorie, where they try to make a life for themselves in the harsh living conditions in the rural mountainous area of Uttarakhand. Children are most vulnerable to these difficult living situations.

Since 1971, Tibetan Homes Foundation (an independent charity which is partly supported through SOS Children’s Villages sponsorships) has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Mussoorie – Happy Valley.

Of people live below the poverty line

Children vulnerable in harsh conditions

Uttarakhand, where Mussoorie is located, is mostly rural, with 70% of the population living in towns scattered throughout the mountains. This makes it hard for people to access health care and education. Furthermore, there is a lack of proper roads and transportation possibilities. This makes economic development in the area difficult, with 40% of people living below the poverty line in the rural areas. Uttarakhand, sadly, is high on the list of Hill states in cases of human trafficking, which could be partly due to the proximity of the Nepalese border. Children are most vulnerable to these difficult living conditions.

Tibetans live in exile in Mussoorie

Children as refugees

Nowadays, two generations of Tibetans have been born and brought up in exile in India, after the first emigration in 1959. Moreover, new refugees are still travelling from Tibet, autonomous region of China. They have often suffered repression and brutality, which has led them to flee to India. The scars of such experiences remain with them. An estimated 5,000 Tibetan refugees live in exile in Mussoorie. Many Tibetan children are sent to Mussoorie by their parents who see this as the only way that their child will obtain a Tibetan education.

Your support makes a difference for children in Mussoorie – Happy Valley

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.
Children and young people
Grow up in our care
Brothers and sisters studying at school. We work hard to make children stay in school for as long as possible (photo: Tibetan Children’s Villages).

How your support helps in Mussoorie - Happy Valley

Providing quality education
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. Due to the great number of children in need of care, homes may have up to thirty members and sometimes even more. All the children have lost parental care; while some children have no living parents, others have parents who are in Tibet, in other locations throughout India, or have moved further away.
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.