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DharaviMumbai’s Dharavi is one of the world’s largest slums and is home to roughly 1 million people since it was established in 1884. Dharavi was initially inhabited by fishermen and later extended to migrant workers from south Mumbai. The slum’s conditions are dire and inhabitants have suffered from the spread of numerous epidemics and diseases due to the lack of sanitation, drinking water, roads and basic healthcare services.

Hidden Markets

Despite its harsh economic and social conditions, Dharavi is close to Mumbai’s two main suburban rail lines, which has made commuting to work easier for workers. Over the years, Dharavi has also developed a large number of thriving small-scale industries that produce embroidered garments, quality leather goods, pottery and plastic. Furthermore, there are estimated to be 5,000 businesses and 15,000 single-room factories located within Dharavi, making it a prime entrepreneurial realm with potential revenue that can total anywhere from $700 million to $1 billion USD a year.

Many of these initiatives are undertaken by women living in the slums, many of whom have taken the lead and become the main breadwinners of their families. In fact, out of the 65,000 rural markets in India, almost 75% are run by women.

Renuka Shinde’s Story

One such example is Renuka Shinde, who was forced to take up the role of the breadwinner after her husband left her and their three sons. Renuka traveled to Kolkata from her home in Dharavi to buy handloom saris to start her small business. At the end of a month’s hard work, Renuka brings home Rs 3,000 or roughly $48 by selling saris and other garments around Mumbai. Renuka makes a profit of Rs12,000 ($200) a month and this tends to increase during Indian festivals such as Diwali and also during wedding seasons.

Pushpalata Chittikindi’s Story

Another example is Pushpalata Chittikindi, who is left to fend for her two sons in the absence of her alcoholic husband. Pushpalata started making metal buckles and sold them piece by piece to nearby factories in the neighborhood. The businesswoman also worked as a cook and cleaner in her spare time. Following the advice of her friends, Pushpalata took a loan to set up her machine but lacked financial knowledge and experience with banks. Pushpalata took the help of a local NGO that gave out small loans to support local women.

With help from the NGO, Pushpalata started making Rs 250, about $4, per day. The businesswoman later pivoted to buying biscuits and snacks from wholesale stores and selling them from her home to nearby school kids. With the money she earned, Pushalata was able to pay off her loans in a year and rented a small store nearby, which she later named after her son, Sagar.

Women in Poverty

The biggest challenge to women looking to follow in the footsteps of Renuka and Pushpalata is access to credit – a first step to overcoming their financial struggles. In India, the poverty rate for women ages 25 to 34 was roughly 12% in 2020 and is said to increase to 14% following the dire effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, Indian men in poverty are roughly 100 men to every 120 women in poverty. The statistics highlight that there is disparity even within the parameters of poverty and that Indian women need support and guidance in their economic endeavors.

Addressing Credit Challenges

Thanks to the Vandana Foundation, an organization that provides low-interest micro-loans to female entrepreneurs in Dharavi, this challenge has become easier to overcome. In addition to the Vandana Foundation, many other NGOs such as the Light of Life Trust, Human Capital For Third Sector and Catalyst For Social Action, also play a big role to support India’s entrepreneurs and inhabitants.

A Take-away from Dharavi

The story of these women stands to show that although we tend to underestimate the power of small-scale local entrepreneurs, they are capable of making a considerable impact. If given the opportunity and starting resources, people have the power to change their financial circumstances and thus their lives, even in slums like Dharavi. There are hidden markets similar to the ones in Dharavi all over the world. By understanding where the opportunities lie and how to best support them, we can help people to help themselves and their communities.

Samyudha Rajesh
Photo: Flickr

Argentia's slums, Buenos Aires slums
Argentina is the fifth-highest country with the most COVID-19 cases in South America, with 111,000 recorded cases by mid-July. Moreover, Argentina’s COVID-19 related death toll has nearly doubled since June, surpassing 5,000 cases. Confirmed illnesses continue to be on the rise, with more than half concentrated in the urban hotspot of Buenos Aires City. Approximately 88% of all cases in Argentina are reported from within Buenos Aires, its impoverished slums or its surrounding regions.

COVID-19 in Argentina

While the federal government acted early to contain the virus, including imposing a strict nightly curfew since March, Argentina’s most impoverished remain extremely susceptible to COVID-19 and its dire economic consequences. For example, within Buenos Aires’ slums, families often have to sell their homes to afford meals for their families.

Nearly half of all Buenos Aires cases were estimated to be in its slums in late May. In some instances, outbreaks became so alarming that the government would enforce security and fences around these neighborhoods to ensure residents do not spread the virus—at the expense of residents’ increased impoverishment.

Regional non-governmental organizations (NGOs) within Argentina recognized these hardships faced by low-income Argentinians and are currently working to mitigate the health and economic consequences. Here are five NGOs battling COVID-19 in Argentina’s slums.

5 NGOs Fighting COVID-19 in Argentina’s Slums

  1. Chequeado, Spanish for “Checked,” is an online journalism platform that fact-checks public information on Argentinian politics and society. The organization’s website has recently launched a new COVID-19 section to keep citizens informed about the fact-based science behind the virus. The section also covers COVID-19 cases and newly implanted preventative measures. Headlines range from the effectiveness of spraying items with alcohol to the evidence surrounding the transmission of COVID-19 by air. Given the growing number of slum residents having access to the internet due to Argentina’s globalization efforts, this news outlet is accessible to slum residents who would not have access to the information otherwise.
  2. International Organization for Migration, or IOM, works with state and non-state actors to assist migrants through various means, ranging from counter-trafficking to resettlement support. During the COVID-19 pandemic, IOM is working with the Argentine Red Cross to provide food and cleaning supplies to vulnerable migrants. The organization is also ensuring all migrants understand COVID-19 precautions, translating public information to French for migrants from Haiti and Senegal, as well as English for migrants from Jamaica.
  3. Pequeños Pasos, translating to “small steps,” aims to bring sustainable development to the lives of Argentina’s impoverished. While the NGO focuses on missions ranging from education to employment, health and nutrition have been at the forefront of its efforts. Given the looming issue of extreme food insecurity due to COVID-19, Pequeños Pasos has launched an emergency food project to feed more than 12,500 people at risk of hunger in Buenos Aires slums. For a year, the NGO will provide monthly emergency food bags to vulnerable families.
  4. Asociación Civil Ingeniería sin Fronteras Argentina is a civil engineering organization that has taken on the project to quadruple the capacity of ventilators in Argentine hospitals. This solution aims to alleviate the possibility of ICU units reaching over-capacity and providing a sufficient number of ventilators for COVID-19 patients. The project aims to raise $7,015 to expand Argentina’s existing ventilator capacity, potentially saving thousands of Argentine lives. As a disproportionate number of slum-dwellers are contracting the virus, this aid will help them overcome the effects of COVID-19.
  5. Las Tunas is an education-based NGO that offers children and adolescents various educational resources, including scholarships and arts empowerment classes. In light of the socio-economic effects of COVID-19, the organization has expanded its efforts to help families remain economically stable. New website resources include a “Monitoring, Accompaniment and Early Detections” program that helps set up productive quarantine routines for families. The NGO also has a unique “Economic Development” program, which provides families with business strategies and training materials to increase household incomes. Original educational programs for youth are now also delivered online.

Looking Ahead

While COVID-19 cases in Argentina have overwhelmingly affected the country’s impoverished populations, diverse civil society organizations are working to combat the effects of COVID-19 in Argentina’s slums. Whether through economic empowerment or preventing misinformation on COVID-19, these five NGOs aim to stabilize Argentina’s most marginalized’s living conditions during the pandemic.

—Breana Stanski
Photo: Flickr

Hope for Slums in Kenya

A homeless child is wandering the streets of the largest slum in Africa. The child steals a mango, his meal for the next two days. An angry mob seeks justice and starts beating the hungry child. For some reason, a man saves the child from further punishment by paying for the mango. The man carried on with his day, but that boy’s life was changed forever. His name is Kennedy Odede and he is the founder of the multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization called Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) to create hope for slums in Kenya.

Odede was forced to the streets at the young age of 10 because of poverty and violence in his family. After being saved from the angry mob, Odede met a Catholic priest who helped him go back to school. In addition to school, Odede was working a factory job that paid him only $1 for 10 hours of work. The kindness from strangers in the face of these struggles is what inspired Odede to create Shining Hope for Communities as a way to give back to his hometown and help the urban poor.

SHOFCO started in 2004 with, “passion, 20 cents and a soccer ball.” The grassroots organization works to transform urban slums into communities of hope. They do this in three ways. The first is by providing life-saving services like healthcare and clean water. As a grassroots organization, they also promote collective action, so that the struggling communities can advocate for lasting change. Finally, SHOFCO also works to educate young girls and allow them to be leaders because they are the key to advocating for and maintaining positive change in Kenya and Africa’s slums.

Here are a few ways that SHOFCO has benefited Kibera:

  • Over 500 students received free education from kindergarten to eighth grade
  • SHOFCO created 24 water kiosks that provided low-cost water to over 30,000 Kibera residents
  • The water kiosks served around 300,000 people in the region

The progress SHOFCO has made in Kenya and other African nations are remarkable. Grants and donations are SHOFCO’s main source of funding. They have yet to receive foreign aid, but the possibility of funding from the Kenyan government is looking more likely. SHOFCO could give hope for slums in Kenya and so many other slums in Africa if they received foreign aid. The impact that they have already made is astounding and they can only go up from here. In 2018, SHOFCO had some remarkable achievements:

  • Over 90 percent of students passed their KCPE exam which is an exam given at the end of primary school
  • The average school score on the KCPE was a B+
  • SHOFCO trained almost 1,500 new entrepreneurs

Fifteen years ago a boy who had struggled for most of his life started an organization that would change the lives of thousands. From earning $1 for 10 hours of work, Kennedy Odede used 20 cents of that dollar to create SHOFCO. With his amazing passion and kindness, SHOFCO has given hope for slums in Kenya. Together, Odede and SHOFCO have provided essential services to the poor and empowered young girls and women to create lasting change.

Gaurav Shetty
Photo: Flickr

 

Informal Schools in African Slums
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) estimates that, as of 2010, more than 200 million people in Africa reside in slums. This means more than 200 million people are living their lives in inhumane conditions and circumstances. The children living in these slums have a compromised opportunity at education. According to UNICEF, the youth residing in slums are some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable youth in the world. Due to the burgeoning need for educational institutions in Africa, informal schools in African slums are gaining popularity.

What are Informal Schools?

Informal schools are unregistered educational institutions that are not recognized by the government. Traditional schooling comes in the form of either private or public schools, and informal schools are a sort of middle ground. They typically operate in impoverished areas and are mostly geared around offering the same education as a primary school. These institutions are funded by private parties and non-profit organizations.

Increasing Need

The main reason that the number of informal schools in African slums has been on the rise has to do with a surge of enrollment in public schools. This is, in part, due to the initiative of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which pushed toward target goals that would reduce poverty, such as improved access to education. This enrollment surge is a positive factor in Africa’s education sector, but comes with a downside: there are not enough public schools to meet the rising need of educating African children, and the usual alternative, private schools, are not financially accessible to most African families. Overcrowding in African schools has been an increasing problem; the pupil to instructor ratio in African primary schools is 42:1.

In response to the need for more educational institutes, informal schools have been sprouting up all over Africa, especially in slums. Characterized by the same steel and dirt architecture in the surrounding slums, these schools offer an alternative option for education. There is a lack of government schools in slums, so private sectors and organizations provide funds for the informal schools.

The Benefits of Informal Schooling

Informal schools in African slums not only facilitate access to education but also offer a safe space for the youth. Many of these schools, such as the Destiny Junior Education Center, offer meals and restrooms, which are not commodities in slum-living. Informal schools keep African children off the streets and in the classrooms, which potentially helps them stay away from the vices that are rampant in slum environments like drugs and alcohol.

The Future of Informal Schools

The next step regarding informal schools is to put policies in place to protect them. There are members in the education committee of the National Assembly that are working toward informal schools being recognized by the government so as to strengthen the quality of education in them.

Overall, informal schools in African slums are an attempt to meet the increasing need for education in slums. By offering an alternative to the congested public schools, these informal education centers provide hope for African youth.

– Paula Bouza
Photo: Flickr

Top 10 Facts About Poverty in Mumbai
Mumbai is a city with a massive population but, like most of India, it struggles with poverty. Poverty has long been a major concern for the Indian government, but with a consistently growing population, it is becoming increasingly harder to create effective change. Regardless, having all the facts about the city is a good first step to understanding what can be done to improve living standards. The following are 10 important facts about poverty in Mumbai.

10 Facts About Poverty in Mumbai

  1. According to the 2011 census, the population of Mumbai was 12,478,447. Estimates for 2018 put the population around 22 million; however, the next official census is not scheduled until 2021.
  2. In 2016, an estimated 55 percent of Mumbai’s population lived in slums. A slum is an area of dense population typically characterized by poverty, deteriorated housing and buildings and poor living conditions. 
  3. Not all slums are recognized, or “notified,” by the Indian government, meaning residents of “non-notified” slums are not entitled to piped water, toilets, electricity or public transportation. This also allows the government to de-prioritize them in slum improvement schemes.
  4. Almost half of Mumbai’s slums are non-notified, and Mumbai is estimated to have the largest slum population of any city in the world. 
  5. Lack of access to clean water causes various bacterial infections. These can cause mild to severe diarrheal illnesses and, in some cases, mortality through the ingestion of harmful chemicals, toxins and bacteria. These illnesses are particularly prevalent in non-notified slums. 
  6. The Indian government created the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) in 1971. Since then, the SRA has been implementing projects and policies to try and improve the lives of people living in poverty. The SRA website has a record of 1,513 total projects that have been run in cities and villages across India, including many in Mumbai. 
  7. Mumbai also has a large homeless population that is unable to access any housing or places to settle in. According to the 2011 census, over 54,500 people are homeless in Mumbai. 
  8. Mumbai had a 33.4 percent secondary education drop out rate in early 2017. However, there has also been a 20 percent increase in enrollment since 2010. 
  9. The income gap in Mumbai and other parts of India is widening. According to a Maharashtra survey, people in the poorest districts earn only 25 percent of what people in the wealthiest districts do. 
  10. The largest slum in Mumbai is called Dharavi. It is home to about one million people, however many of them are not below the poverty line. While still densely packed, Dharavi is home to middle-class, well-educated residents, and many of them have satisfactory living conditions.

These are the top 10 facts about poverty in Mumbai. While many of them depict poverty and issues that need to be addressed, others point out positive aspects of the city that may not always receive as much visibility. It is important to look at the city’s strengths in addition to its weaknesses in order to gain a fuller understanding of the issue at hand.

– Liyanga de Silva

Photo: Flickr

How the Media Misrepresents El SalvadorLatin American countries tend to be represented as third-world countries compared to more prosperous ones like the United States. El Salvador is not exempt from such narratives. One such way that the media misrepresents El Salvador is by only covering the negative aspects of the news and not the positive. Some of the negative portrayals include stories about drugs, murders and gang violence.

A Better Future for Salvadorans

While there is this negativity present, there is also a garment factory that is trying to help turn the life of its workers around. This garment factory hired people “who are normally left out of society, including ex-gang members,” according to PBS News Hour. The factory combines school and works to give El Salvador a brighter future.

The factory’s general manager, Rodrigo Bolanos, said, “I saw the American dream, where lower- and middle-class kids can work and study at night in community colleges. And for me, that is a good way to resolve and to give the American dream right here in El Salvador to all these poor people.”

Carlos Arguetta, a previous gang member, wore long sleeves to his interview to try to cover up his tattoos, as described in the report. Through an interpreter, Arguetta stated that if he “didn’t have a job like this one, [he] would probably still be part of the gang and be doing killings.”

Improving Living Conditions in Slums

Another way that the media misrepresents El Salvador is in the way that its citizens live. Descriptions of wooden shacks are abundant when describing living conditions. While that might be true, there are two companies that are trying to change the places that Salvadorans live in.

Recently, a Texas-based construction technology company by the name of ICON partnered with New Story, a company that builds homes in developing countries, in order to provide better living conditions for those stuck in the El Salvador slums. ICON and New Story plan to transport a 3D-printer in order to produce 3D-printed homes for people at a highly reduced building cost.

The companies hope to give people who live in the slums an opportunity to live in a safer housing environment. As reported by Arab News, the mixture that produces the homes contains “a mix of concrete, water and other materials [that] are pumped through the 3D-printer.” The mixture hardens as it is being printed. It only takes 48 hours for a house to be built from the ground up. This is a much better alternative to makeshift shacks that citizens currently live in.

Using Art to Combat Violence

The final persistent misrepresentation of El Salvador in the media is the violence, and while the violence does occur, the nation is often presented as inescapable. However, art is one way that Salvadorans are able to escape their realities.

Marco Paíz is an artist and organizer of a festival by the name of “Sombrilla Fest,” or umbrella fest. It is a festival that is part of a bigger celebration called the World Social Circus Day, which takes place annually on April 7. This day is organized to be an international day to spread joy and is celebrated by 20 nations worldwide.

The goal of the festival is to have people “take over these spaces and these activities so that they [can] come out of the darkness of the violence that surrounds the country,” said Marco Paíz to TeleSur. It can also be an opportunity to motivate Salvadorans to learn the artistic practices so that they are able to improve their own living situation.

Despite the ways in which the media misrepresents El Salvador, there are numerous positive developments happening across this Central American nation.

– Valeria Flores

Photo: Flickr

facts about costa rica slums

With nearly 21 percent of Costa Rica’s population lived below the poverty line in 2016. In a July 2017 report, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency reported that Costa Rica’s population was at 4,930,258 and over one million Costa Ricans currently live in poverty. The following 10 facts about Costa Rica slums focus on two of its major slums: Triángulo de Solidaridad and La Carpio. These 10 facts about Costa Rica slums also touch on the appearance of residents’ homes and the government’s role in their maintenance.

 

10 Facts about Costa Rica Slums

  1. Triángulo de la Solidaridad, one of the capital’s best-known slums, is now a tourist attraction. Slum residents guide visitors and Costa Ricans through the slum in order to provide them with a new perspective on the country’s consistently high poverty rate.
  2. Roughly 2,000 people— more than 520 families— live in Triángulo de la Solidaridad.
  3. Triángulo de Solidaridad is located off Route 32, just north of downtown San José. Residents must cross the highway daily as they walk to and from work.
  4. Costa Rican slums appear colorful because their improvised homes are made of tin, wood and other scrap materials.
  5. Triángulo de la Solidaridad, because it is located along the highway, conflicts with Circunvalación Norte— a project that expands the belt route connecting eastern and western sectors of San José. The Housing Ministry must notify and relocate families who live in the community.
  6. La Carpio is one of Costa Rica’s least known slums, but it may very well be one of the worst. The slum is a remote section of San José located between two polluted rivers and the city’s landfill. Over 30,000 residents are packed into La Carpio.
  7. La Carpio and Triángulo de la Solidaridad were both founded by Nicaraguan refugees. The majority of their residents are undocumented immigrants who are often ignored by the Costa Rican government.
  8. Over the past 20 years, La Carpio has established schools and a medical clinic, water and sewage connections, cement floors and paved roads.
  9. A few students from La Carpio are set to graduate from high school and attend university— a milestone for the community.
  10. La Carpio residents can either walk across a bridge or take a bus to get to work. The bridge is a rickety suspension foot-bridge that stretches across the Rio Torres, but residents still opt for this dangerous route to save the 45 cents bus fare.

As evident in the preceding 10 facts about Costa Rica slums, slums may become tourist attractions that offer visitors a new perspective on living below the poverty threshold. Tourists that are exposed to poverty may seek further education on the subject in an attempt to eradicate it.

– Carolyn Gibson

Photo: Flickr

Live in Slums
Between 2000 and 2014, the percentage of the urban population in developing countries who lived in slums decreased from 39 percent to 30 percent.  While these statistics are encouraging, the bottom line is that the number of people living in slums continues to grow. Globally, 828 million people live in slums today. This fact means that one in eight people in the world suffers from poor living conditions.

A slum, as defined by United Nations Habitat, is a household that may suffer one or more of the following conditions: lack of access to water protected from outside contamination, lack of access to sanitation facilities that separate human waste from human contact and lack of adequate living area (more than three people living in one room of four square meters minimum).  These conditions also include a lack of housing durability (the structure must be on non-hazardous land and must be able to withstand extremes in climate) and a lack of security of tenure (protection by the state to ensure the unlawful eviction of inhabitants of homes).

For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. However, urban areas only account for three percent of the earth’s land. Over 90 percent of urban growth is occurring in developing nations. The increase of people living in cities can predictably rise to 60 percent in 2030 and to 66 percent by 2050.

There are approximately 200,000 slums throughout the world. Mexico City is the home to the largest slum in the world. The Neza-chalco-Itza province began developing in the early 1900s and today houses roughly four million people. A younger slum in Karachi, Pakistan is only ten years old and houses 1.5 million citizens over 22 square miles.

Some other large slums include Mumbai, India, where Dharavi houses one million people in one square mile. The slum of Khayelitsha began after abolishing apartheid in South Africa and grew since the 1980s to 2.4 million people. Fifty percent of its inhabitants are under 19 years old. Kibera, the second largest slum in Africa, has the highest population of more than 200 slum dwellings located in Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. 2.5 million people dispersed amongst these 200 slum dwellings represent only six percent of the land in the city. Kibera houses 250,000 of these people.

Urbanization is a key focus under the United Nation’s Sustainability Development Goals. The eleventh goal on this list is to make cities and human settlements more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The task of establishing anti-poverty measures and reducing global poverty can improve the urban areas where the slums reside. When the poor no longer have to live in slums, their quality of life will improve.

Jene Cates

Photo: Flickr


As the population in India continues to increase steadily, so does the number of people living in slums. The country’s 2011 census revealed that the slum population currently stands at 65 million people, up from 52 million in 2001. 2,613 of India’s 4,041 towns are classified as slums. In the territory of Delhi, where capital city New Delhi is located, 1.8 million of the 22 million residents live in 22 slums.

The India census defines the term “slum” as an area resided in yet unsuited for human habitation. These places are deemed unfit if they are a hazard to human health and safety due to lack of space, ventilation, cleanliness and other factors. These areas also lack hygienic drinking water facilities, functional bathroom areas and plumbing.

The Delhi slum population lives day-to-day without the basic amenities of electricity, plumbing and gas. Most of the residents are unemployed or daily wage workers, making less than the equivalent of one U.S. dollar a day.

In the 2011 census, slums are categorized in three different subgroups – notified, recognized and identified. Notified and recognized slums are legally established, while identified slums do not hold official slum status by the Indian government. The residents living in identified slums do not have access to legal protection and civic services.

Identified slums must have a population of at least 300 people with 60-70 tenements. Over one million of the growing Delhi slum population reside in identified slums and receive no aid from the government.

With the drastic population increase of the slums, the few resources these areas have are becoming even more depleted and run down.

However, not all of the census’ findings are negative. During the 10-year period under review, the Indian slum population grew at a rate slower than the general urban population. The average household size in slums is no larger than the average household size of urban areas. Slum literacy rate rose from 72.2 percent in 2001 to 77.7 percent in 2011. This is still below the overall Indian literacy rate of 84.1 percent.

WaterAid India is an organization that works to help some of the main issues the growing Delhi slum population is facing: lack of water, sanitation and hygiene, abbreviated as WASH. WaterAid aims to increase Delhi’s access to WASH through deliveries, supporting communities to manage and monitor their own services and advocating for improved WASH conditions from the government.

Asha is another organization seeking to aid Delhi’s slum residents. Asha provides many services for slum dwellers such as access to healthcare, financial services and education. They seek to meet basic environmental and healthcare needs of the population and empower and educate slum dwellers to change their own futures. These are just two of the many organizations seeking to improve the lives of the growing Delhi slum population.

Hannah Kaiser

Photo: Flickr


Also known as Bombay, Mumbai is one of the largest cities in India. Home to about 13 million people, it is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in the world. Mumbai is known for having some of the biggest slums in Asia. Here are 10 insightful facts about Mumbai.

Ten Facts About Mumbai

  1. Areas that aren’t recognized by the government are called non-notified slums. These areas lack satisfactory sanitation, clean water, adequate housing and secure tenure.
  2. The houses in the slums of Mumbai are small shanties the size of about 269 square meters. A shanty is typically composed of one room with a small bathing area. Families are forced to share the sleeping area, which is normally composed of one bed and a mat rolled out on the floor at night. There is no kitchen, only a two-burner gas stove. Many families have no choice but to live in these overcrowded and under-resourced conditions.
  3. The houses do not have indoor toilets. Therefore, people living in shanties have to use communal bathrooms. The bathrooms are unhygienic and do not have proper sewerage to dispose of the waste.
  4. Residents are exposed to contaminated waters as a result of insufficient sewage systems. This is one of the main causes of health problems in Mumbai. People who live in non-notified areas do not have access to clean water. Many people are forced to illegally tap into city water pipes. This contaminates the city’s clean water.
  5. Dharavi is the largest slum in Mumbai, with about one million people residing there. It is the home of many microindustries that include tanning, leatherworking, pottery and plastic recycling. The slums of Dharavi are quite different from what is known as a typical squalid place. Instead, it is a “complex ecological and economic system.” The residents aren’t people who live below the poverty line. On the contrary, they are middle-class, educated folks who have been deprived of decent housing.
  6. Mumbai is a major center for education. The literacy rate is at 89 percent. Even the slums of Mumbai are India’s most literate. However, because Mumbai is so densely populated, school admission can be a challenging process. In fact, parents are advised to start applying six months in advance.
  7. The enrollment rate has increased by 20 percent since 2010.
  8. However, despite the increase, the number of dropouts in Mumbai has also drastically increased. Specifically, in secondary schools, as the dropout rate is 33.4 percent.
  9. Boys drop out from school more than girls do. In 2013, 39 percent of boys dropped out before completing elementary school. Thirty-three percent of girls dropped out that same year.
  10. The unemployment rate is higher in Mumbai than most places in India at 5.5 percent. However, it decreased from 5.7 percent in 2016.

These ten facts about Mumbai give an insight of the living situation. Although Mumbai has a lot of problems, there are many organizations addressing the situation. Organizations like the Fight Hunger Foundation and AMMA are helping to alleviate hunger and poverty in India. These ten facts about Mumbai also show the education side; it’s mostly positive with a literacy rate of 89 percent and a rising employment rate.

Solansh Moya

Photo: Flickr