on the details of
After three years of continuous voluntary work in the slums and organizing slum dwellers the Project Holders felt the need to register their organization and thus Deenbandhu (Friends of the Poor) came into legal existence. Initially their interventions revolved around promoting youth leadership, educating children, sanitation campaign in the slums, and mainstreaming slum children for realization of their educational rights. Deenbandhu’s vision is that all urban inhabitants should have their share of urban space and services. The organization believes that the housing crisis can be solved only if planners and policymakers change their apathetic attitudes about the poor and become actively engaged in pushing for workable solutions. The Founders, Late Rajiv John George and Ms. Belu George have been involved in mobilizing slum dwellers through their interventions to promote youth leadership, education aiming at mainstreaming children and sanitation campaigns in the slum. The Project Holder, Ms. Belu George, is a qualified Social Worker and a Lawyer. She has been a part of the Right to Housing Campaign since the last 12 years. Currently she is also engaged with the RCH programme of the MP State Government. The current interventions of Deenbandhu are spread across 2 slum clusters in Indore city, Madhya Pradesh.
Indore is situated in the administrative region of the Malwa Plateau. The district is highly urbanized at 72% versus the state average of 27%. The buoyant economy of the city is supported by industrial (in Dewas and Pithampur) and agricultural activities (on the Malwa Plateau) in surrounding areas. Though the city’s economic output is significant, employment opportunities are limited with low labor intensive work. In addition, uncontrolled and unplanned growth of this urban centre has led to huge stress on the infrastructure. Slums vary in size, duration of residence, population density, service facilities, employment status, access to Anganwadi centers (AWCs), schooling opportunities, infrastructure, land rights, etc. These factors impact on the quality of life for the residents. Over 94% of the workforce of Indore are in the non-farm sector. However, worker participation rate is low at 30% (urban Indore). The aggregate female participation in the workforce was as low as 14% for urban Indore in 1991. Labour-intensive industrial units have either closed down or have drastically reduced staff. Newer industries are capital-intensive, and offer opportunities only for technically qualified personnel. Therefore, while economic output in the area remains significant, employment opportunities are limited.
MP has the highest neonatal, child and under-five mortality rates of any state in India. MP Government data shows that IMR in 2004 was 79 against the national average of 58 out of which Urban IMR is 56. Neonatal mortality among families residing in urban slum areas is double that of those living in better off slum areas. In urban areas of MP, about 44% of the children are underweight, with almost half (19.5%) of these children being severely undernourished. Most of the children are deprived of birth registration, which may harm their civil & political rights in future. Health status is poor and level of immunization is low, which led to children being exposed to six preventable diseases. Most of the children in these slums are deprived of education rights. Many of them are working children and child labor (involved in rag picking and looking after younger siblings). In this backdrop, Deenbandhu interventions aim to operationalize appropriate modalities for sustainable long term development of urban slum communities with optimal community participation.
- To create enough space for the poor, to be active participants in the process of change and development, whereby they can explore and demonstrate practical solutions.
- To translate the knowledge and information possessed by the slum communities into a form that is understandable to the policy makers and to develop ways and means through which a direct dialogue is established between the communities and policy makers.
- To make efforts for holistic development and promote welfare of the Dalits, Adivasis, women and child labor of the marginalized community.
- To propagate education among urban-rural and tribal poor for their development.
- To contribute towards social and cultural development through community awareness by building and encouraging peoples participation.
- To attempt at identification, prevention of AIDS, epidemics and rehabilitation after rendering primary care and health care, through public awareness and education.
Review and Impact
This is a relatively new CRY partner taken on board since January 2007. They are working on a rights based mode with the child at the focus of the interventions. They have been intervening to address the issue through people-centered and people-owned approaches since its inception. Through the review period, Deenbandhu focussed its activities on housing rights and establishment of its identity with the community and other stakeholders.
The issue of demolishing slums in the name of beautification of cities is taking a toll on the livelihood of the urban poor and due to this their children are suffering the most. The denial of their rights to urban poor in the area has been a prime concern of the organization. The organization has experience in dealing with this issue at the national level too with like minded organizations.
- Birth registration and immunization processes were initiated.
- Voter ID campaign was carried out in all the slums. In Ishwar Chandra Nagar, Ahirkhedi and Ramabai Nagar 150 applications were submitted.
- Education campaign through nukkad nataks (theatre) helped in enrolling 133 children in formal schools.
- A campaign on Right to Information was conducted and RTI was filed by the dwellers of Rama Bai Nagar seeking financial grant support for the development of the slum.
- Community was mobilized on the issue of water privatization.
- The organization was actively involved in the campaign process along with Rozi Roti Sangharsh Morcha against establishment of Reliance Subzi Bazar (Vegetable Market).
- Awareness campaign on birth registration will be started. Community awareness will be created through various means of public awareness building.
- Data will be collected through baseline data surveys and secondary sources.
- Training of 20 community volunteers will be organized on health issues.
- Follow up of 5 old RTI applications will be carried out and 5 more RTI applications will be filed concerning common issues of child rights, basic services and housing rights.
- 2 transit schools will be started in two slums with 20 children in each school.
- Training would be conducted for slum dwellers to get access to critical information on high rise housing option for relocating slum dwellers .
- Capacity of volunteers, slum dwellers and civil society will be enhanced to take forward the issue of urban poverty.
- A bal mela (children’s festival) will be organized which will be attended by at least 200 children, providing space for recreation and entertainment to slum children.
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