Sunday, September 6, 2009

He Sets the Lonely in Families

- 40% of India's population is below the age of 18 years which at 400 million is the world's largest child population.
- Less than half of India's children between the age 6 and 14 go to school.
- A little over one-third of all children who enroll in grade one reach grade eight.
- 95 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their fifth birthday.
- 70 in every 1000 children born in India, do not see their first birthday.
- 23% of India's children are underweight at birth.
- 58% of India's children below the age of 2 years are not fully vaccinated. And 24% of these children do not receive any form of vaccination.
- More that 50% of India's children are malnourished.

In addition to the deaths of infants and children due to malnourishment and disease, innumerable and unrecorded numbers of girl children are killed within hours of being born while many others are killed in the womb itself. Patriarchal norms, low status of women and preference for male children are the primary reasons that threaten survival of female children in India. The alarming fact is that female infanticide or foetuses has increased over the past few decades. While in 1960 there were 976 girls born for every 1000 boys, in 2001, there are only 927 girls for every 1000 boys.

- 1 out of every 6 girls does not live to see her 15th birthday.
- Of the 12 million girls born in India, 1 million do not see their first birthday.
- Every sixth girl child's death is due to gender discrimination.
- 1 out of 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 4.
- Female mortality exceeds male mortality in 224 out of 402 districts in India.
- Death rate among girls below the age of 4 years is higher than that of boys. Even if she escapes infanticide or foeticide, a girl child is less likely to receive immunisation, nutrition or medical treatment compared to a male child.
- 53% of girls in the age group of 5 to 9 years are illiterate.

“Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Deliver the weak and needy from the hand of the wicked.” Ps 82:3-4

My heart remains burdened.

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