Slums are structures formed due to overcrowding and the mass migration of people in bulk to cities, leading to the creation of shanty towns in metropolitan areas of the country. Immigrants tend to move from rural areas to urban and developed regions for better
opportunities.People living in slums tend to endure minimal basic amenities and daily hardships to survive.
Children, women, and the elderly need to walk a vulnerable path, especially in this setting.Children live a childhood where they struggle for everything available. They tend to grow up in unfortunate circumstances where food, shelter, and clothing are natural for middle-class or above-class kids and are considered a luxury treasure for them.
The slums typically lack proper sanitation facilities, safe drinking water, and systematic garbage collection in their local communities, which is a health threat and makes them more prone to getting sick. An underprivileged family’s top priority is to get food and clothing by any means possible. The young ones in the house either earn money for the family by working at small eating joints, shops, and petty jobs along with their mother, who helps with domestic chores and takes care of other siblings. This type of pressure leads the children into dangerous or life-threatening work to get fast cash. The women work as housekeepers at people’s homes along with their daughters to get some share of the money to run the family.
The slums are a breeding ground for many diseases because the high concentration of dirt and lack of ventilation in the houses cause suffocation. The public use of a single tap and washrooms, makes them prone to infectious diseases. The infamous puddles of dirty and contaminated water and the lack of replenishment of the stored water promote the spread of waterborne diseases in the area. Slums become a major health concern because residents live in overcrowded situations. Sleeping on dirty floors with poor ventilation will lead to the rapid spread of respiratory and skin diseases. Another health issue is nutritional deficiency due to a lack of access to essential food items and products. The common diseases in this class are cholera, infectious hepatitis, diphtheria, chicken pox, measles, flu, plague, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), acquired immune deficiency syndromes (AIDS), and tuberculosis (TB). The absence of latrines is a major health problem.
According to the National Sample Survey, the slum children were put into two categories: those who dropped out and those who never attended school. students currently attending any school. Then those not currently attending were asked if they had ever attended school. If they had, they were regarded as dropout children. If they had not, they are regarded as never-attended children. In Delhi-8, the attendance ratio is only 54.5% which is much lower than the attendance ratio in Delhi as a whole. This follows a similar pattern of attendance ratio across genders, where the attendance ratio of girls (55.8%) is slightly higher than that of boys (53.5%) in slums. The schools near slums can only accommodate a limited number of children and are always overcrowded. The lack of adequate facilities and essential supplies like blackboards and textbooks. Teachers find it difficult to raise the standards of academics due to a lack of necessary training, tools, and credentials. Discrimination against underprivileged families and children is still a serious issue in India. The students from these schools studying in these institutions cannot attain fundamental abilities like reading and writing due to improper instruction. The government’s little funding does not help the situation but adds fuel to the fire of poverty.
They tend to get left behind and miss out on opportunities to make a better life for themselves. The slum situation in the world and India needs to be improved, and the Union government must take action and do more for them.
-Contribution for RAAY Foundation by Prakriti Didwania