Mumbai is home to some of the world's richest people. Sadly, it is also home to the world's poorest. It is a city of swanky malls and shabby chawls (slums). A land where skyscrapers exist along with sprawling slums. In India's financial capital, there is exists a massive dichotomy in the economic status of the people.
Despite India's economic growth, the gap between the richer and poorer households remain.
While it is in the world's top 10 centers of commerce in terms of global financial flow, Mumbai is also home to Asia's largest slum.
The case of urban poverty in India has been exemplary in terms of mismanagement of urban growth. Cities have become the best place to foster poverty and destitution at a scale and extent unseen before. Rural poverty is one thing, but urban areas added a whole new breed of revolting aspects to it: diseases, violence (more than at the countryside), disintegration of communities and the social fabric.
As cities grow, so do the slums, "beckoning" more rural migrants and creating more urban poverty in India.
Let’s have a look at a typical class of workers in the slums that make up one reality of urban poverty in India: waste pickers and collectors, for recycling use. Both pickers (who pick up waste from the streets) and collectors (who collect from households) are at the very bottom of the social order – even while their role is crucial for recycling and the environment – with the pickers at the lowest position, by far.
Most of them usually come from the countryside and have to settle in the slums because they have no other choice. Collectors make enough to live just around the Indian poverty line, while pickers live far below the line.
Enactus MPSTME’s Project Parivartan works exclusively with these collectors and pickers with an aim to improve their conditions of living.
Project Parivartan works towards providing an alternate source of income to this neglected and isolated community. Through their profession, they barely earn enough to survive each day, they cannot afford to send their kids to school, they have no money to pay for hospital bills, they cannot afford basic resources like water, electricity and sometimes they can’t even afford 2 meals a day.
Project Parivartan is helping them to earn enough to afford everything mentioned above. We go to these slums on a regular basis and teach them how to make different environment-friendly products like mosquito-repellent agarbattis, sawdust pencils, bowties as well as educate them with courses of English, Math, Money Management. We also have regular counseling and motivation sessions with them.
We are helping their children exit the vicious cycle of illiteracy and poverty, since their parents can now afford to pay for their education.
Poverty leads young girls into desperation and even allows them to be tricked into the sex trade with the promise of employment in major cities. Urbanization leads to a lot of men moving into cities inhabited by very few women. This creates a market for the sex traffickers to sell to.
Despite new restrictions and harsher punishments, India’s human trafficking problem is worse than ever.
Enactus MPSTME’s Project Patched works exclusively with these sexually trafficked victims to help them to lead a socially and economically independent and respectable life.
Due to their conditions, most of these victims have very low income and no education at all.
Project Patched teaches these victims different vocational skills like tailoring, computer courses, money management, etc. Using these skills, they are able to earn money and provide for all their needs and their families’ needs too.
Poverty is a national problem and it must be solved on a war footing. The government is taking a number of steps to mitigate poverty. Eradication of poverty would ensure a sustainable and inclusive growth of economy and society. We all should do everything possible and within our limits to help alleviate poverty from our country.
We at Enactus MPSTME believe that this war can be won only if all of us join hands to fight against poverty together.
We as students givewhatever little we have towards nurturing and improving the lives of our beneficiaries enabling to overcome poverty.
We urge each one of you to help in whatever little way you can.
Remember, a war is never fought alone. We need an army of soldiers, our entire nation to fight and eradicate this evil i.e. poverty.