Located in South Asia, India is bordered by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. The landscape features an upland plateau in the south, an arid desert in the west, and the Himalayan Mountains in the north.

  • Population: 1,224,614,000
  • Life Expectancy: 65 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 88%
  • School Enrollment: 97%
  • Land Mass: 1,269,219 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 63%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 63/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 1,340

Facts about India

Economic Development

India has the world’s 12th largest economy — and third largest in Asia — with a gross domestic product of over $1 trillion. Since 1997, economic growth has averaged 7 percent per year. Despite economic progress, the unemployment rate hovers around 10 percent.

Food & Agriculture

More than 80 percent of Indians (about 700 million) live on less than $2 a day. According to the World Food Program, about 25 percent of the world’s hungry live in India, and around 40 percent of children under the age of 5 are malnourished.

Clean Water

Because Indians living in rural areas do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities, diarrhea is common and is the second leading cause of death among children.

Child Protection

Forced labor is a significant problem in India. Millions of men, women, and children are held in debt bondage and forced to work in brick kilns, rice mills, embroidery factories, and other industries. Women and children are also vulnerable to human trafficking.

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Progress in India

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.

  • Formed children's clubs, conducted youth leadership trainings, and established child-friendly spaces, helping ensure children are cared for, protected, and have a voice in decisions that affect their lives.

  • Provided bicycles to children who live far from school, helping reduce the drop-out rate by allowing them to get to school safely and quickly.

  • Supplied solar-powered lamps to orphans and vulnerable children, enabling them to study during the evening hours and do better in school.

  • Trained farmers in modern agricultural techniques, livestock management, and small business management, equipping them to increase their crop yields.

  • Conducted tutoring sessions for children in math, science, and English, to help them perform better in school.

  • Trained healthcare workers and volunteers on ways to provide improved health services to the community, including prenatal and postnatal care.

  • Implemented feeding programs, providing over 20,000 malnourished children under the age of five with supplemental food and teaching parents how to improve their children's nutrition at home.

  • Educated mothers and children on proper handwashing techniques, teaching them a simple way to prevent diarrheal disease.

  • Held workshops for adolescent girls to teach them about personal health, nutrition, and hygiene.

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    World Vision in India Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of India to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 65,500 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in India. Highlights include:

    • Providing care to children who are affected by HIV and AIDS in south-central India through educational, medical, and counseling programs.
    • Improving the economic and psychological condition of struggling farmers in central India so that they are able to take care of their families, work in the field, and pay off their debts.
    • Providing thousands of people in western India with access to clean drinking water.
    • Working to prevent child labor, restore child laborers to their families and school, and advocate for enforcement of existing child labor laws.

    World Vision History in India

    World Vision began work in India in 1953. Child sponsorship began in 1960. Since then, some accomplishments include:

    • Assisting Indians affected by heavy rains in 1974 with food and shelter.
    • Responding to the damage done by Pradesh cyclones and floods during the 1980s by providing agricultural assistance, clean drinking water, immunizations, and nutrition programs.
    • Launching several projects during the 1990s to address the concerns of bonded child labor, street children, AIDS awareness, rehabilitation of commercial sex workers, and the prevention of female infanticide.
    • Distributing clothes, medicines, kerosene, blankets, food, and more to over 35,000 victims of the December 2004 tsunami.
    • Providing cooked food, household items, mosquito nets, cooking utensils, and clothing to thousands of Indians affected by floods in 2009.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Located in South Asia, India is bordered by Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. The landscape features an upland plateau in the south, an arid desert in the west, and the Himalayan Mountains in the north. Three of India’s largest rivers (the Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputra) originate in the Himalayas.

    The climate ranges from tropical to temperate. Natural resources include arable land, coal, diamonds, limestone, natural gas, titanium ore, and petroleum. India is the world’s seventh largest country.

    As the second most populous country in the world, India supports over 15 percent of the world’s people and contains about 200 ethnic groups. Nearly 75 percent of India’s inhabitants are Indo-Aryan, a mixture of indigenous and either European or Iranian ancestry. Over 337 million people speak the national language of Hindi. Indians use English mostly in political and commercial communications.

    Although the effects of poverty in India are widespread, girls often suffer the most. Traditionally the father gets first choice of the food, then his sons, with the leftovers going to his wife and daughters. Girls also often miss out on education, immunizations, health care, and other benefits.

    Boys may continue to live with their parents after they get married. Girls, however, go to live with their husbands’ families. By law, women cannot wed until they are 21, but in rural communities, families often arrange marriages while the children are quite young.


    The Hindu culture developed on the subcontinent of India under the Gupta Dynasty in the fifth century A.D. For the next 700 years, Islam slowly spread across the region and blended with Hindu traditions.

    By the 1850s, the British controlled most of India and opened trading posts along the western coast. Beginning in 1920, Mohandas K. Gandhi led a mass movement against British rule, using nonviolent resistance to push for independence.

    In 1947, the British partitioned the country into two independent states: India (with a Hindu majority) and Pakistan (with a Muslim majority). Since that time, India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir, a northern Muslim region.

    India controls two of Kashmir’s three states, while Pakistan controls the remaining state. Both countries supported a cease-fire in 2003, yet several attacks occurred in the past few years, straining relations.

    In August 2008, devastating floods in Bihar in eastern India destroyed an estimated 315,000 homes and affected more than 4 million people. In November 2008, terrorists attacked Mumbai, the financial capital of India. The attacks left 200 dead and hundreds injured. In 2009, drought and more floods affected millions of people.

    Prayer Requests for India

    • The nearly 2 million people affected by severe drought in some parts of the country.
    • Girls to have equal access to education and be protected from early marriages and early pregnancy.
    • People struggling with hunger and living with HIV and AIDS to receive the help they need.
    • The protection and care of vulnerable children, especially for those living on the streets.