Jai Bhim Nagar community is demolished, where more than 350 children from homeless families live

 In socio-economical development, street children

Last weekend the Jai Bhim Nagar community in Powai was demolished and more than 3,500 people lost the place they had lived in for the past few years. This is one of the areas where our Smiling Bus project works, which brings basic education and health services to girls and boys from homeless families. Our team works tirelessly to locate and help beneficiary families so that no boy or girl becomes a victim of trafficking.

A conflict of more than 30 years

This is a marginal community and very isolated due to its location. It is located within a luxury complex, surrounded by some of the most expensive homes in all of Mumbai. Its location is also one of the main reasons for a prolonged dispute between its inhabitants and the company that owns the space. Since 1990, the community was created to provide a residential facility for people working in construction, but in 2014 the land was reclaimed for the development of new residential projects. Consequently, given that there are families who have been living for two generations, the community asked for relocation alternatives. After many years in court, on June 8, the construction company proceeded to demolish the community.

The Jai Bhim Nagar Powai community consists of around 600 households and 3,500 people. It is estimated that 350 children are homeless. The construction company provides free drinking water and sanitation facilities, and people have to pay for electricity. All houses are made of iron sheets and the size of each house does not exceed 10 square meters. Most people in the community work for the local company as construction workers, elevator operators, cleaning staff, housekeepers, and other basic services necessary to maintain the complex. The children of the community attend the municipal school located near the community.

The action of Mumbai Smiles in response to the demolition

After the demolition, the community is trying to organize to find another space to live so that they do not have to spend the night on the streets. The Smiling Bus team, which knows the children benefiting from the project and their parents well, is working to maintain contact with the families and the children, so that none of them can become victims of trafficking mafias. Unfortunately, this is a problem that occurs many times with many of the communities with which Mumbai Smiles collaborates and Mumbai is a city in continuous change and the team that works on the ground is in charge of detecting new locations where to deliver the Smiling Bus according to identified needs.

At Mumbai Smiles we try to locate and help the homeless beneficiary families so that they can find a safe place to live and the boys and girls can continue attending school and receiving education, a very important factor so that they have opportunities in the future and do not are victims of trafficking.

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