Bhakatpara, Assam

SOS Children's Village Bhakatpara, near Mangaldoi

In 1983, SOS Children began its work in the Indian state of Assam in the north-east of the country, after many families had been separated and numerous children had lost their parents during heavy clashes between the local population and immigrants from Bangladesh and West Bengal.  SOS Children's Village Bhakatpara was built with the support of the Indian Department of Social Welfare.  It was opened by Ms Indira Gandhi in 1984.  This SOS Children's Village is located about 15 km from Mangaldoi.

It consists of 14 family houses, staff accommodation, a multi-purpose hall and the necessary administration and service area.  The children attend the schools in the vicinity of the SOS Children's Village, integrating the SOS children into the local community.  The nearest hospital is in Mangaldoi but the SOS Children's Village has its own sick bay, which is also open to the local community.

Other SOS Projects in Bhakatpara

For the older boys from the SOS Children's Village, there is an SOS Youth Home, which consists of three youth houses (one in Mangaldoi, one in Beltola and one in Tezpur).  Young people usually move from the SOS Children's Village to an SOS Youth Home when they start a vocational training course or go on to higher education.

With the support of qualified youth workers, the young people develop realistic perspectives for their future, learn to shoulder responsibility and increasingly make their own decisions.  They are encouraged to develop team spirit and build up contacts with relatives and friends, as well as with the relevant authorities and potential employers.

In 2004, SOS Children's Villages India launched its family strengthening programmes in Bhakatpara.  These programmes are intended to support families at risk of abandoning their children and to encourage families to stay together.  SOS Children's Villages therefore works with local authorities and other service providers to support families and enable them to take good care of their children. 

The Bhakatpara family strengthening programme provides nutritional, educational and health support as well as vocational training, career counselling sessions and job placement support.  Families are linked with existing self-help groups; if there is no group, a new one is formed.  The programme also aims at raising awareness of hygiene and child rights and improving people's parenting skills.

Background to Mangaldoi

Mangaldoi is a city in the Darrang district within the Indian state of Assam.  It was named after "Mangaldahi" who was the daughter of the King of Darrang and who was married to the Ahom King Pratap Singha.  The population is around 24,000.