General information about Odisha
Odisha borders Andhra Pradesh in the south, and both states lie on the coastline of Bay of Bengal. Odisha measures four times The Netherlands, and counts 42 million people (official census 2011). The official language is Odia. The state is considered the poorest state in India, though the coastal region is quickly developing, especially in the area of heavy industry, predominantly steel mills. Nevertheless, 47% of the population live below the poverty line, almost double the national average. According to the recent census 94.3% of the population belong to the Hindu religion, 2.4% are Christian and 2.1% belong to the Islam faith. OD is one of nine states which has so called “anti conversion laws”
Where we work: Nabarangpur and Koraput
Odisha is composed of 30 districts, and the districts we consider as our working area are Nabarangpur and Koraput, both with “capitals” bearing the same name. The district of Nabarangpur is situated in plain area, while bordering Koraput is in deep forest area; thinly populated by tribesmen. The people have strong cultural and emotional affinity with the forest and stay alive with what the forest brings them. But, due to gradual degradation of forest cover and land diversification for the developmental projects in the district, the communities are losing forest-based livelihood support. Odisha is known as a state where Christians are persecuted.