Trichur, now called Trissur, is the cultural capital of the Kerala State in the South West of India. Around 1 million people live in the metropolitan area of Trichur.
Thanks to various government interventions, life in the state of Kerala has improved over the past few decades. Kerala's literacy rates and life expectancy rates are among the highest in the country.
However, Trichur’s infrastructure suffers from the rapid growth and many people end up unemployed or living in slums. Children are also victims of child marriage.
SOS Children’s Villages began supporting children and families in Trichur in 1983.
India has one of the highest number of child marriages in the world. This means that a harrowing 27% of women aged 20 to 24 were first married before 18.
Child marriage is a violation of the universal declaration of human rights, and the emotional damage a child suffers from a forced union is profound. There is also an increased risk of child pregnancies and domestic violence.
In Kerala specifically, 8% of girls were married when they were children. The national target to end child marriages by 2030 will require a major push from the Government.
Trichur is a fast-growing city in India, and the infrastructure has been unable to keep up with this development. The government is making an investment, to get rid of slums across the state of Kerala.
However, at present, there is a lack of affordable housing, adequate sanitation and safe drinking water. Often people who move to Trichur in search of a better life and job opportunities, end up in one of the 133 slums at the border of the city. Children are most vulnerable to the poverty in these slums, and to the lack of access to safe drinking water and inadequate sanitation.