Picturesque and blessed with an abundance of nature’s gifts, Shillong is described as the ‘Scotland of the East’ because of its striking similarity with that of the Scottish Highlands.
Shillong the capital of Meghalaya is located at an altitude of 1496 meters above the Sea level. It is a popular hill station with vastness of culture, language and religion. With people living in interior villages where proper medical facilities Capital city of Meghalaya, Shillong is also known as the Scotland of East. Meghalaya constitutes a small part of India and has not seen much economic growth over the years; this is because of the poor transport links to the area.
Most of the people in Shillong earn their livelihood by engaging in activities like cattle rearing and cultivating fruits, potatoes and rice. The area is known for its natural resources, too, which is why mining is one of the most widely done activities. One of the major problems that the inhabitants of Shillong face is the low productivity of agricultural activities. Income generated from such activities is not enough to sustain oneself and therefore is a big concern. This is one of the major reasons for the increasing poverty in Shillong.
The most affected groups of this situation are particularly women and children. Gender inequality along with human trafficking has also been a raging concern in the area.
SOS CHILDREN’S VILLAGE SHILLONG
The SOS Children’s Village in Shillong started its activities in the year 1999. It is located nearby the Umiam Lake and is about 12 kms from the city centre of Shillong. At present, the Village is sheltering 127 children in 12 family homes at the village who are provided Family Based Care.
Children at an SOS Village are warmly welcomed and are placed under the loving care of an SOS Mother, who is assisted by an SOS Aunt for additional help and support. All children are enrolled in schools and are made sure that they do no miss out on their education. All necessary efforts are made to help children adjust to the new environment and in their families.
All festivals of national and international importance are celebrated within the village with great joy and enthusiasm. This time is also regarded to a good bonding time between the children, their families and all village members.
At present, the total number of youth in our facility is 83. Youth in SOS India are constantly motivated to do better in life. Special coaching and training is given for them to help them realize their highest potential. Youth in SOS Shillong actively take part in community activities like awareness campaigns on importance of safe drinking water, cleaning drive in the nearby locality etc.
Various sessions and workshops are organized for all children in order to keep them updated with the current issues and trends in society. While many of our youth are still studying in schools and colleges, rest are working in reputed companies.
FAMILY STRENGTHENING PROGRAMME (FSP)
The Family Strengthening Programme was initiated in Shillong in the year 2007. The aim of an FSP is to empower vulnerable families to help them become independent and self-sufficient. At present, the total number of beneficiaries in FSP Shillong goes up to 501.
Various capacity building workshops and activities are organized by SOS India for all caregivers at regular intervals to enhance their income generating ability. Noticeable improvements have been seen in the living conditions and standards of the families enrolled in the Family Strengthening Programme. Children are also empowered in the community through Bal Panchayat with a vision to involve them in the decision making process at the Village Panchayat level. This helps in giving children exposure and also helps instill confidence in them.
HOW TO REACH
The SOS Children’s Village is 106 km away from the Guwahati Airport.
It is at a distance of 88.4 km from the Guwahati Railway Station.