Allahabad is considered a holy city, and sits on the banks of two sacred rivers—the Ganges and the Yamuna—in the state of Uttar Pradesh. UNICEF reports that the average malnutrition rate in Uttar Pradesh is 40%, which is even higher than that of Sub-Saharan Africa.
Many students at USMS live in nearby slum areas, just a few blocks from the school. Their parents work very hard as laborers for relatively little pay. Most of their families struggle to survive on less than $2 a day—well below the poverty line. The vast majority of students are the first in their families to ever attend school.
The average-sized home in this area is 12 feet by 12 feet. Often, as many as six family members share this space for sleeping, cooking, and everyday activities.
USMS also works with several schools in neighboring villages. Some of these villages are very remote—up to several hours from the city of Allahabad. The villagers are mostly subsistence farmers and day laborers. Most of the children would have no chance to get an education without support from USMS.