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The need

The need

More people live in extreme poverty in India than in Africa.

About 400 million in India live below the poverty line – 75% of them in rural areas.

Nearly 70% of the population live on less than $2 per day.

Seva Mandir works with the most disadvantaged in this population – almost half from tribal groups.  These are often neglected by government and other NGOs.  Public services are often non-existent or ineffective.


  • Infant mortality is over ten times higher than in the UK
  • Almost three-quarters of children suffer from malnourishment
  • Almost half of children aged 0-3 are underweight
  • 75% of children are anaemic
  • Fewer than 20% of children aged 1-6 have been properly immunized
  • 50% of children aged 0-5 have been ill in the last 30 days
  • Between a third and a half of medical personnel are absent from their health centres


  • Literacy rates for women are under 20%
  • Half of children aged 6-14 are not in school at all.
  • Only 16% of children are in government pre-school centres.
  • Schools and pre-schools suffer from absentee or unqualified staff.

Natural Resources and Livelihoods

Most people depend on water, forests and land for their livelihoods.  But the land is degraded, and water scarce, with ever more frequent droughts, and little irrigation or water management.

Citizenship and Empowerment

Democratic political processes often do not exist.  The poor, and lower caste people, are dependent and vulnerable, with virtually no voice or sense of active citizenship.

Women have little voice in traditional institutions, suffer severe discrimination and violence, and fare badly on all indicators.  For instance, over half are underweight.