Tuesday, February 02, 2010

India: Sangam Vihar Slum

Sangan Vihar is considered one of the largest unauthorized colonies of Asia and has a population close to 2 million. Yes, that’s right, 2 million. 2 million people living in an area beyond comprehension. This slum area has in it a sub-division of a slum if you can imagine that is called the “Rag picker” slum, and that is where our MoM children are. The Rag picker slum is only one of the many sub-slums within the large Sangam Vihar slum colony, and the populations is about 200,000 people, all of whom are rag pickers, or garbage collectors. It has a striking resemblance to “Garbage City” in Cairo where we where several years ago (go back in the archives to see that). There is no potable water, no toilets, no sewage. The Slum clusters or the dwellings they live in are made of plastic or other material picked and found during the garbage collections. People go to the city every morning to collect garbage that they later sort though to recycle. They make about $1/day doing this. Children are not allowed to go to school because they are needed to go and pick garbage in order to sustain the family.

They live in small parcels of land owned by wealthy individual who rent the parcel to several families living in there. It is usual a small piece of property, no larger than perhaps a 1/16th of an acre, and rents for about $300/month, which is split by the families living there. There is a middle man, or a contractor who is hired by the owner of the property who collects the sorted  garbage and pays around 25-50 cents for a bag of plastic and then turns around and sells it for $5-$6 giving the owner a cut. The Rag pickers are essentially slaves.

Here’s what you need to know: 20% of the children do not see their 5th birthday due to the illnesses they contract living in the garbage squalor. MoM is there to pave the way to a better life and better medical care by bringing in Medical Mercy. Pastor Koshy and sister Joicy have been there for 14 years and have a remarkable educational, nutritional and spiritual program going all with the help from MoM. Medical Mercy will be there in April of this year. We’ll look to do the best the we can.DSC02170DSC02163 DSC02164 DSC02140 DSC02147  DSC02141

In all things give thanks,