Foolish governance & politics!
When the kid stars of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ found their homes demolished, it made headlines. But, evictions and relocations are pretty much par for the course, for most kids in urban slums.
The Growth-For-All(GFA) team spent time studying the experiences of kids at Savda Ghevra, a relatively-new resettlement colony in the outskirts of North-West Delhi.
By the age of 10, these kids had experienced displacement from their rural habitations to an urban jhuggi( slum) in Delhi, and then from the jhuggi to this resettlement colony. The uncertainty has still not ended because their parents only have a 7-year lease for plots alloted to them at Savda Ghevra.
Udit is a 12 year-old boy migrated from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. He fondly recalls the “bara khet” (big fields), “kua” (well), “maidan” (playground) in his village. He is still coming to terms with the fact that his house in Sawda is on a mere 12.5 square meter plot, and that there are no wide lanes and fields here.
However, for most such kids, Delhi is home now. Kajal( age 13) and Jyoti(15) are sisters who, when asked, are categorical about this, and refuse to go back to their village in Bihar, saying “Hum Dilli kay hain, aur yahin rehna chate hai” (we are from Delhi and we want to stay here only).
Notwithstanding this determination, they face a considerable amount of hardship and alienation. The GFA team has published the first volume of ‘Viewpoint’, which records the dismal condition of children at Sawda Ghewra.
We see these youngsters of Savda a certain lack of trust and motivation; and an abundance of lethargy because of their experiences and current condition. The outcome of these cumulative set of experiences is that by the time they become adults, they certainly do not have the drive and achievement orientation, which will charge them up enough to learn new skills, and find jobs for themselves. When we connect the dots, and look at the livelihood study we completed a few months ago, it is no longer surprising that our livelihood programs did not have enough takers.
It is once again clear that the task of motivating and moulding these youngsters has to begin much earlier, when they are still in their early teens. That is the only way in which the country’s ambitious skills development and livelihood initiative can really take off.
( In case you are unable to download the Viewpoint document here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org)