By: Arpita Macwan, Assistant Manager – Programmes, West Zone
Mumbai, a city synonymous with dreams and cinema, is house to around 12 million hopeful Indians. While the glamour continues to represent the city, majority of the population thrives beneath the surface in slums and streets.
A study by BUILD, our Mumbai based Partner Organization, revealed that 96 percent of homeless families in Mumbai have lived on the streets for more than five years. The Census of 2011 estimates 25% of Mumbai’s homeless to be women, and about eight percent of the homeless population to be under the age of six. With meagre incomes to survive on, they take to pavements, community parks, beneath the flyovers and other open public spaces as their homes, exposing themselves to the vagaries of nature every day.
As part of a Supreme Court verdict in 2011, every city with a population of 100,000 or more was mandated to build one shelter for every 100,000 population. Currently, Mumbai has only nine operating shelters, and none are designed to accommodate families.
As part of a civil society initiative towards setting up adequate number of shelters for the homeless population, BUILD and Pehchan organized a photo exhibition titled “Without Walls: An investigation into the lives of Mumbai’s homeless families”; a visual journey into the lives of the homeless, especially women and children who are struggling in extreme scarcity of basic necessities.
Anita lives in the compound of a residential complex and has taken up the responsibility of getting her niece educated.
Meera is a street dweller and collects scrap for recycling. She earns between 200 and 300 INR per day.
Parvati – Kamathipura