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

Shillong is the capital of Meghalaya state, located in the Far East of India. Around 150,000 people live in this city surrounded by hills, hence the nickname “Scotland of the East”. The area still depends greatly on agriculture. However, the sector is suffering from its low productivity, which causes poverty in Shillong. Children are even more vulnerable to this prevalent poverty, and thus many children are involved in child labour, working in mines in the region.

Since 1999, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Shillong.

Of people live in poverty

Children living in poverty

The area around Shillong has not seen the same economic growth as other parts of the country. This could be due to its geographical position and the weak transport links to the area. 80% of people in Meghalaya state are dependent on agriculture. However, the sector is limited by the lack of modern techniques, and low productivity. And thus, 24% of people live in poverty in the district of East Khasi Hills, where Shillong is located. Children are most affected by this poverty, often lacking access to education and healthcare; and vulnerable to undernourishment and child labour.

Children working in mines

Children vulnerable for child labour

In India, 10 million children are estimated to be forced to work. They are employed in multiple sectors like the garment industry or agriculture, and are at risk of exploitation and trafficking. In the Meghalaya state, where Shillong is located, child labour is a prevalent issue. An estimated 70,000 children, from India, Nepal or Bangladesh, are working in the many mines in the state. The district of East Khasi Hills, surrounding Shillong, is the district with the highest prevalence of child miners. Some of these children are no older than 5. In these mines, they have to cut and carry coal, extremely dangerous tasks.

Your support makes a difference for children in Shillong

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
Children are excited to learn how to use laptops for school assignments. SOS Children’s Villages cooperates with education authorities, schools and community organizations. Together they ensure free and equitable access to quality education that equips children with values and skills (photo: SOS Children’s Villages India).

How your support helps in Shillong

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.