Kaam Ki Baat

Seemapuri Slums: The Posh Slum of Delhi

 Seemapuri Slums: Jaha schools toh Hai par education nhi, Toilets toh to Hai par sanitation nhi

It was a usual Sunday morning for Zayeda Malik when people from the MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) came to the rickety streets of Seemapuri slum to demolish her so-called house where she had been living since her childhood. “They say the area has been encroached by us, but we have been living here for more than thirty years. We are even ready to leave, but they should also provide us with someplace where we can migrate to”, grieved the fifty-year-old.

Located in the east of Delhi, Seemapuri is a slum area where people have been living without the basic amenities of life for years. The area is suffering due to the scarcity of public toilets. As a result, most of them have to defecate in the open, making the area vulnerable to diseases. Most of the people who live here are immigrants from Bangladesh and Nepal.

“The area already has mammoth problems, and then such raids only add to our woes,” expressed Atif Malik, a 22-year-old who runs his almirah (iron cupboards) shop in the old lanes of Seemapuri.

Schools Toh hai par Teachers nhi- Education at Seemapuri Slums

The area has several government schools, which according to the residents, serve no purpose. “There are four-five schools here. However, what is the value of a school without teachers? The student-teacher ratio is 100:1 in most schools, and the quality of education is inferior,” said Mohammad Shabuddin, a tiny scrap business.

The area also has many NGOs working for different purposes. One such NGO is the ‘Patterns for Poor People Foundation,’ which focuses on improving the education provided by the government schools in Seemapuri.

Started by Muhammad Umar, the NGO claims to have filed numerous RTIs against the improper functioning of schools but to no avail. The foundation has expanded a lot in a brief time. “When we started in 2010, there were hardly any teachers in the schools, but now at least teachers are there. Though they are on a contract basis, we are glad we have been able to do this. Moreover, we have not received any fund from anyone to date, nor do we want any such help”, stated a scrap dealer.

Action India- Making Seemapuri slums better for women

Another NGO which has made incredible efforts is ‘Action India.’ Founded in 1976, the NGO’s primary focus is informing women in the area about their health & reproductive rights and making toilets available in each & every household in Seemapuri slums.

“We visit the streets to inform kids and women about their legal rights. We are focusing on promoting sanitation in Seemapuri slums. Moreover, all the women panchayats in Delhi are run by us only”, said Abhishek Mittal, one of the volunteers. The Jang Pura-based NGO has been a recipient of domestic and international sponsorships.

Where the government has failed to take any steps to uplift this area till now, the people still seem hopeful that the ‘Modi Sarkar’ will bring the promised change in their lives. As time passes, it will be interesting to see if the people of Seemapuri witness a ray of hope in their lives or if the distress prevails.

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