Extreme water scarcity, increasing debts, repeated crop failures and farmer suicides – this is the chilling scenario that greets us in this part of the country. People live in scattered hamlets, struggling to get by with very little to fall back upon. Food grains are scarce as are any sort of green vegetables. Basic survival is a day to day challenge with children being the most vulnerable.
The project works with communities of waste pickers based in the slums of Bangalore. These are some of the most neglected and backward communities and their children are at a constant risk of ill health due to the lack of hygiene and unsanitary conditions. The parents work long hours and therefore children are often neglected and drop out of school. Substance abuse, early initiation into high risk sexual activities are also fairly common. Child marriage is the norm and children often have little or no access to proper health and education facilities which further compounds the challenges they face.
The city of Ahmedabad and the areas around it are often considered to be one of the most polluted cities in India. The quality of air, cleanliness, water pollution and solid waste management are major challenges, particularly the slum areas near the industrial sectors. Failure of environmental systems management and disposal of solid waste, lack of monitoring and enforcement of rules and regulations, vehicular and industrial pollution are often referred to as the causes for this acute state of affairs. Children living in this city are therefore at a high risk of ill health and disease.