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Success Stories

  • For 3 hours a day, 10 year old Arifa collects reusable garbage. She does it because she’s told to, and not because she’s aware that it’s sold to provide for her family of three older sisters and a one-year-old brother. She’s a girl, and hence, doesn’t need to be involved in the economics of the household. She just needs to know how to run it: she’s already been trained to cook, clean and care for her younger siblings while her parents are working.

  • Along the Uttar Pradesh Border, buried in the by lanes of Bhowapur, is a learning centre run by Phia Foundation, for children from the rag picking community that lives in its fringes. The children come from make-shift houses, constructed on mounds on garbage, which they sort through for a living. The dumping ground is home to over 700 families that sort through the waste to recover plastic, paper and metal. Their days are filled with the pungent stench of rotting waste and the unrelenting fuzz of swarming flies. Education, to them, is not a priority - it is a luxury.

  • Hemlata, twenty years old and married is another Internet Saathi who is transforming the skills she learnt to the women in village Bhagwanpur. She takes a lot of pride in helping other women to learn the internet. None of the women in the village own a mobile phone. But that does not stop them from attending Hemlata’s sessions and explore the outside world through the internet.Even the women who are illiterate learn to utilize the voice function to vocally command Google searches.

  • Kiran Devi lives in Bhowapur’s ragpicker colony, on the outskirts of Delhi. She gets up early every day and works long hours sorting out rubbish and classifying it in different categories so it can be sold.

    Kiran now sends all five of her children to school every day and encourages them to study hard so they will not have to be ragpickers like her. She is as committed as anyone in the community to the education of her children.

    The Jugnu education project, supported by Phia Foundation, has helped give Kiran’s children a good start in their studies.

  • Their daughter Kajal was only three months old when she died of malnutrition.

    Manoj Ravidas and Pratima Devi work as ragpickers in a slum community in Bhowapur on the outskirts of Delhi. Living in such appalling conditions, on a garbage dump, it’s hardly surprising that some children and babies simply don’t survive.

    There are no proper toilets or sanitation – open defecation is the norm. People’s homes sit next to, and are mostly built out of, great piles of rubbish, discarded junk of every sort imaginable.

  • Amit Kumar, 15, has no doubt he would be working as a child labourer without the support of Phia Foundation partner Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan.

    Instead, during seven years of coming to the A-Block Children’s Shelter, run by Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan in the Motia Khan area of central Delhi, he has been able to continue his education and develop hobbies, including painting and yoga, for which he has won several awards.

    ‘Yoga is good for health. My friends used to do yoga so I learned from them,’ says Amit.

  • Muskan takes us inside the improvised, ramshackle slum dwelling she calls home, and pulls aside the curtain that leads into the bedroom she shares with her mother and siblings. Except there aren’t actually any beds.

    ‘I sleep wherever I can find a bit of room – there’s no exact place,’ she explains, pointing at the floor.

  • Manual scavenging, the process of removing, carrying and disposing of human excrement from dry latrines by hand, is inhumane and illegal in India. However, many thousands of people find themselves and their families trapped in this work.

    Manual scavenging is a traditional occupation, forced on marginalised dalit communities, who wear nothing to protect themselves and run a serious risk of disease. It is both degrading and dangerous.

  • Massive floods hit the northern Indian region of Jammu and Kashmir in September 2014 after torrential rains caused rivers to burst their banks and overwhelm defences.

    More than five million people were affected by the floods – the worst in the region for 60 years – with three million people seeing their homes deluged across the districts of Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Budgam, Bandipora, Baramulla and Sophian.

  • The slums of Bhowapur are overlooked by the plush, high-rise Radisson Blu hotel. Guests can look down from their windows to see children as young as two burrowing through rubbish like animals.

    Such a stark juxtaposition could hardly have been set up any better. Or, perhaps, any worse. Sadly, seeing wealth and extreme poverty side by side is commonplace in Delhi.