Srinagar is the largest city and one of the two capitals of the union territory Jammu and Kashmir, in the upper north of India. Around 1.5 million people live in this city, which received the nickname “Venice of the East”.
However, the city is also still the centre of conflicts. In addition, 12% of the population is living in poverty and children especially suffer from the prevalent poverty and violence. Furthermore, due to these harsh conditions, many families end up living in slums, which further deteriorates the living conditions of children.
Since 2004, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Srinagar.
Srinagar is located in the union territory Jammu and Kashmir, a region which is struggling with political unrest, and disputes between Pakistan, India and China. The conflict has lasted for more than 30 years, and has caused hundreds of thousands of casualties, civilians and soldiers alike. Not only mass killings have been reported, but also disappearances, torture, and rape.
Children living there, in one of the most militarized zones in the world, are extremely vulnerable to violence. More than 300 children have been killed since 2003, and many others are victim of sexual violence. Children are also recruited as child soldiers.
Around 50% of all Jammu and Kashmir’s (the Union Territory where Srinagar is located) slum population resides specifically in Srinagar district.
Often people move to Srinagar in search of a better life and job opportunities, but because the infrastructure cannot handle this shift, many people end up in one of the slums in the city. In these slums, there is an absence of affordable housing, adequate sanitation and safe drinking water. An estimated 18,000 households in the city live in slums.
Children are most vulnerable to the poverty in these slums, lacking access to healthcare and education.