The population of Andhra Pradesh is 76 million, larger than that of the UK. It is Indias fifth largest state and one of the poorest. Many people are reliant on agriculture or fishing to earn a living. The literacy rate is just 61%. Approximately 40% of people in the state live below the official poverty line. Mercy Mission is situated in the North East of the state, close to the coast. It is two hours drive north of the major port of Vishakhapatnaam and is located just outside small town of Vizianagaram. In the surrounding area are hundreds of small tribal fishing and farming villages. Many of these are remote, isolated communities, some not accessible by road
Whilst India is currently undergoing rapid economic development, many poor people are unable to benefit and have been bypassed by this new found prosperity. Indeed, the gap between rich and poor has grown in recent times.
Rising interest rates and inflation have also made life increasingly difficult for many folk. In recent years, the suicide rates among the farming communities of Andhra Pradesh have risen dramatically. In India. So far, we have been able to reach out to over 200 villages, bringing practical support to those in greatest need. Many of our children came from villages like these.