India is the largest democracy in the world, with a population of over 1.2 billion.
Although its economy has expanded rapidly in recent years, India contains the largest concentration of poor people in the world and almost half of children are underweight (one of the highest rates globally).
North India flooding
In June 2013, heavy rainfall caused landslides and flash floods in North India. Official estimates stated that over 5,700 people died. Some 50,000 people were stranded in remote regions. ActionAid worked in the affected areas, distributing food parcels including baby food, rations, medicine and rations. .
ActionAid's work in India
ActionAid India was our first country programme, established in 1972 it now reaches over one million people.
Through a network of over 300 local organisations and community groups we work to improve the status of poor and marginalised people – mainly Dalits ('untouchables' in the Indian caste system), tribal people, women, children, homeless and disabled people.
For example, we recently supported 27,000 Dalit women to apply for their own land. And just last year, the bonded labour campaign resulted in the government rescuing 600 bonded labourers (more commonly referred to as 'slaves').
Women's rights in India
70 per cent of the female workforce is engaged in agriculture, yet only 10 per cent of women own land.
ActionAid initiatives include savings and credit schemes to help farmers invest in their own small farms or new farming equipment.
Anrifa (right) used to suffer domestic abuse before joining a local ActionAid women's group. She is now an active member working to improve her community.
"They [her husband an in-laws] used to lock me in the house. My life was just doing chores. Nothing was possible until ActionAid started visiting our home."
Health and sanitation
Health services are limited in rural areas, and ActionAid India works to provide mobile clinics to provide care for pregnant women, immunisation for children and regular health checks.
We also train local community health workers and campaign to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS. India has the third largest number of people in the world living with HIV/AIDS.
Children’s rights in India
More than half of all Indian children drop out of school before the age of 14 and the majority are female.
We work to raise awareness about the rights of children through Bal Panchayats (Children’s Parliaments) and support children to enrol in formal and non-formal education to fit in around their duties.