Family Background

Shanti Bhavan researched the families of the children over a period of 5 months. The objective was to ascertain the socio - economic profile of each family. This study will enable us to meet the needs of the children's communities in a constructive way. The pediatrician who is also a specialist in public health and the clinical psychologist tabulated the results of the study. Their findings are cited here.

Results: Sixty eight of the seventy two children in the first three grade levels were studied at the time of writing this report. The remaining two children are orphans who have no family members. The families were situated in rural areas, institutions and urban slums. Some of the results highleted were: Religion: Sixty percent (41 out of 68 children) of the families are Hindu, 38.2% are Christian and 1.5% are Muslim.

Caste: Both Christian and Muslims do not have any sub-castes. Out of the remaining Hindu families, the break up of castes are:


Caste No. of Families (%)
Adi Dravida 10 (14.7)
Boyer 7 (10.3)
Reddy 5 (7.4)
Gownder 4 (5.9)
Naidu 4 (5.9)
Kuruvan 3 (4.4)
Backward Caste 1 (1.5)
Chetty 1 (1.5)
Dhobi 1 (1.5)
Uppar 1 (1.5)
Vanniar 1 (1.5)
Gold Smith 1 (1.5)
Ghola 1 (1.5)

Family type: In India, the various types of families are defined as:


  • Nuclear: consists of parents and children
  • Joint : many sublines with their families live together in the same household with their parents
  • Extended : here the family has one of their parents staying with them
  • Single parent : either mother or father with their children
  • Orphan : no parents living

The children of Shanti Bhavan come from the following kinds of families:


  • Nuclear : 38 (55.8%)
  • Joint : 11 (16.2%)
  • Extended : 6 (8.8%)
  • Single parent : 19 (27.9%)
  • Orphan : 3 (4.4%)

Family Size

The family size took into account the children studying in Shanti Bhavan


Educational Status of Parents:

It was found that most of the families had parents who had not studied at all.



Father's occupation: Out of the 68 families studied, only 44 families had fathers. Their occupations varied from being farmers to no occupation at all.


Occupation Number of Fathers
Farmer 5
Coolie 15
Mason 11
Skilled Labourer 7
Others 5
Nil 1

Mother's occupation: Sixty five mothers had occupations were included in the analysis.


Occupation Number of Mothers
Farmer 1
Coolie 30
Mason 1
Others 23
Housewife 10

Family Income

Another variable studied was the average monthly family income of the families of Shanti Bhavan.


Type of House

Various factors of their homes were studied. This was to determine the kind of physical environment the families were living in, and if they had access to the basic facilities.

Type of house:


  • Pucca (cemented house with proper roof, walls, flooring, e.t.c)
  • Kutcha (no permenant structure, could be tatched)
  • Others (neither tatched no pucca, could be temporary shelters)

When asked if the house they lived in belonged to them, the following answers were received:


  • Own house : 27 (family house or one built by themselves)
  • Rented : 21
  • Other : 20

No. of Rooms: The disturbition of families according to the number of rooms they had were


  • 1 room :38
  • 2 rooms :20
  • 3 rooms and more: 2

Ventilation: 29 families live in houses where there was some kind of ventilation in terms of a window or sky light.

Electricity: 43 families live in the houses with access to electricity.

Kitchen: 44 families had separate cooking areas from their living space in their homes.

Bathroom: 21 families had access to a toilet facility

Piped water: 36 of the families had access to piped water supply

Water supply: 14 families had adequate access to water supply

Drainage: 21 of the families had drinage facilities connected to their houses to dispose of water waste

Garbage disposal facility: Only 12 families disposed of their garbage in a garbage disposal facility

Animals in house: 8 families had animals living inside the house

Assets: The different assets studied were land, vehicles and household assets

Land: 10 of the 68 families owned some land. This could either be in their own names or in the joint family. Out of ten families, 5 families owned 1 acre of land, 3 families owned 2 acres of land and 3 families also owned 3 acres of land.

The crops grown on this land were:


  • Groundnut : 5
  • Ragi : 5
  • Vegetables : 1
  • Mulberry : 2

8 families owned some form of transport, 6 families owned their own livestock and 4 families were involved in saving money.

Household assets: Many families had one or another household asset


Ration card: 32 of the 68 families owned a ration card which would enable them to buy food grains through the public distribution system. The others bought all their foodstuff through retail outlets. All the families were asked to describe their feelings about having their child in Shanti Bhavan. The result was unanimously positive, and they were happy with the level of progress and achievement they had seen in their children over the last year. In order to determine if any family had any specific needs that could be addressed by Shanti Bhavan, we asked them in what way could their lives be inproved? Some of the needs could be classified as:


  • Finiancial : 34 families
  • Emotional : 9 families
  • Medical : 6 families

Special note: Practically all our children come from families / backgrounds classified as "Scheduled Castes" (dalits) or "Backward Castes". At the time of enrollment of children, all familes are below the poverty line.


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