Nov 24, 2014

Hope for Homeless Youths

Neeta Ganpat Tambat (Right in Blue Saree), with her daughter and daughter in law and grand children is a domestic worker and stays in the pavements of Parel, Mumbai

“Most of my friends are addicts, some work and the rest steal. All I want now is to leave this life behind ”, says 17-year-old Sachin K Goswami, who lives with his parents on the footpath near Mahim Dargah, Mumbai.

Sachin was born on the footpaths of Mumbai, most children like him never get to go to school and spend time roaming the streets. Sachin makes some money by washing cars or by working as a labourer carrying loads as and when he gets such work. Sachin spends his wages at the cinema, watching the latest Hindi movies. Sachin SK Goswami was supported by YUVA as part of its work with street children.

According to the NSSO Report 508 (2004-05), there are 81 million people in cities (26% of urban dwellers) who live with a monthly earning of Rs.539. Out of this, 80% work as construction workers, drivers, domestic help and waste pickers.

In Mumbai itself, more than 60% of its population lives in the slums (Census 2011). Due to economic pressures, landlessness and social oppression, thousands of people from various parts of India migrate to urban areas every year in search of a livelihood. Unable to afford shelter in the cities, they live without access to sanitation, clean water, health facilities and education. The most vulnerable are women, youth and girl-children who are open to drug addiction, exploitation, physical and sexual abuse.

Urban Poverty Work In Mumbai

Oxfam India has been working with partner and civil society organisation, YUVA Urban for more than two decades. We work with slum dwellers, pavement dwellers and the homeless living on the streets to give them identity cards and entitlements such as Ration cards, PAN card, Voter’s I-Card, pension, ICDS (Integrated Child Development Service) and emergency health services. Through various training programs, YUVA and Oxfam strive to empower the urban poor to help them articulate their demands, protect their identity and promote leadership and life skills in women, youth and children.

Oxfam India and YUVA also support the homeless communities to access night shelters and facilitate the process of rehabilitation of the pavement dwellers under various state government schemes.

Hope for Homeless Youth

“Most of my friends are addicts, some work and the rest steal. All I want now is to leave this life behind ”, says 17-year-old Sachin SK Goswami, who lives with his parents on the footpath near Mahim Dargah, Mumbai.

Mumbai Milestones

  1. Strong and vibrant community-based collectives formed with slum dwellers and pavement dwellers such as the Shahari Vikas Manch, which has mobilised over 20,000 slum dwellers, with a high representation of women.

  2. Entitlement Rights successfully accessed: 71 Families were rehabilitated in Mankhurd, Mumbai; 71 new ICDS centres were opened in slums and 1000 households got ration cards. Advocacy efforts resulted in Mahatma Gandhi Patakranti Yojana (MGPKY) Committee recommending the increase in cut-off date of Pavement dwellers from year 1995 to 2000, to the state government.

  3. Research conducted on denial of water rights. Based on this a PIL was filed at Mumbai High Court.. Inputs on the issue were shared at the United Nations water forum. Paani Haq Samities (water rights committee) created at slum levels to fight water privatisation.

Written by Bipasha Majumder

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