Mothers in India face some of the worst conditions in the world trying to raise and provide for their children. In fact, in a 2016 global study, Mothers’ Index, India ranked No. 140 on the 179-country list.
The index was part of "The State of the World’s Mothers: The Urban Disadvantage," a report commissioned by the NGO Save The Children. It showed that a slum is among the worst places in the world in which to be a mother.
India is also one of the 10 countries of the world with the deepest “survival divide” between poor and wealthy urban children, in the same category as Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria.
A photo feature by Reuters highlights the plight of one such toddler, Shivani. Shivani’s mother works as a daily wage laborer at one of India’s hundreds of construction sites. She has nowhere to leave her daughter and no way she can survive without her job. She therefore has no option but to take her daughter to work and doesn’t know how better to keep her safe than to tie her to a rock so that she doesn’t get hurt.
Thousands of women in India cannot afford day care for their children.
According to a 2015 report "Forgotten voices: The world of urban children living in India," more than 8 million children under 6 live in approximately 49,000 slums across India.
Every fourth child in India (27.4 per cent of total children) lives in urban areas and every eighth urban child (0-6 years) lives in the slums.
"There should be creche facilities, either from the government or the construction companies. There should be a safe place for these children. They are at real risk of being hurt," says Prabhat Jha, head of child protection at Save the Children India.
But there are none — and the employers don’t care.
"They don't care about us or our children, they are only concerned with their work," says Kalara, Shivani’s mother.