Sahayog Foundation of ChhattisgarhW
elcome to the Sahayog Foundation of Chhattisgarh website. Our organization gives academic and medical assistance to rural poor in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
Our long-term goal is to create an environment where disadvantaged rural youth in Central India can improve the quality of their lives, either within their traditional village or in a location they choose to live in and grow. To achieve this goal, we focus our efforts on improving the educational and health environment so youth can obtain the knowledge, tools and opportunities they need to realize their own dreams.
To find out more about what we have accomplished so far, please go to the Sahayog Projects page.
Who receives help and why?
Our initial efforts are directed toward assisting rural girls from poor families between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, because they are typically the least educated in the region, become mothers the earliest, and have the most children and most health problems. These factors tend to perpetuate both poverty and overpopulation.
Why Rural Chhattisgarh?
Although it became a separate state in November 2000, Chhattisgarh is an ancient cultural region in India, and it is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse states in the country. It has one of the highest percentages of rural population, and the second highest female to male ratio of any state. Its people are renown for their simplicity, kindness, hard work, and sincerity. At the same time, Chhattisgarh is one of the least developed states of India in terms of education, infrastructure, and economics.
In the 1970s, the percentage of girls from poor families who attended village elementary schools in the region was about 10%. Efforts by the central and state governments in recent years have led to a marked increase in the availability of educational opportunities in the rural areas. Nevertheless. the percentage of girls from the poorer sections of the community who attend elementary school has only increased to about 30%, with a much smaller number continuing on to secondary school. The cause for this low percentage is two fold: First, many poor families do not view academic education as being important in the lives of their daughters; second, most girls reach puberty at the age 12 to 14 years and are then considered marriageable according to local custom.
In rural India, the marriages of young females are typically arranged within a year or two of puberty. As a consequence, such girls often have their first child when they are only fourteen or fifteen years of age, and may end up having as many as eight children. Thus, keeping girls in school is important not only to help them get an education, but also to help postpone the beginning of childbearing. Studies have shown that the longer females remain in school, the fewer number of children they tend to have.