Feature Story

Slum dwellers- Hope

Lot of hope....
A child with lots of hope....
With her aunty...
Slum dwellers...
only friends....
love for the child....Sweety
Sweety and her mother.....
Her friends and relatives
Sweetest of all....
Slum children....
Service to mankind is service to God!- A view of health camp

A slum, as defined by the United Nations is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums decreased from a massive 47 percent to 37 percent in the developing world between 1990 and 2005.However, due to rising population, and the rise especially in urban populations, the number of slum dwellers is rising. One billion people worldwide live in slums and the figure is projected to grow to 2 billion by 2030.

In India, the Slum dwellers are the most substantial but overlooked section of the society. At a sizable 26 percent of India's population; they represent the poorest of the urban poor. Different states have different meanings of the word slum. But a few characteristics are hard to escape. Minuscule living areas, a burgeoning population living below the poverty line, nil drinking water, and latrines shared among hundreds, a non-existent sewage system; the record is endless.

A film like Slumdog Millionaire brought to the world's notice the condition of slums in India. The rich and affluent were so worried that India is being shown in bad light because we don't treat our slum children like it was portrayed in the movie. But the truth is what Danny Boyle showed the world.

Children that come from the slums many of them are orphaned and live with relatives or one of the parents might have died or the father deserted the family and the woman struggling to make ends meet with her children. Jobs for women are hard to find - and a woman from a slum may get a job as a maid. She herself will most likely have no education that she can pass on her to her children - there is a lack of everything in the house she might have - the house will be one room-in a crowded neighborhood where mosquitoes can carry malaria from one dwelling to another.

The children have no future - unless they have an education and most likely there is no money to pay the way, the uniforms, shoes, food, and other things needed for school.

In this condition, a slum school is being run by a tea vender Mr D. Prakash Rao at Cuttack, Odisha, India and being financed by the people, who desire to donate. By seeing the condition of the children Swami Adyananda Saraswati of Siva Shakti Siddha Yoga Ashram (http://shivashaktisiddha.org/) is adopted to organize health camp regularly for the children and weaker society of the slum dwellers. There was an opportunity to serve them a full meal and to take care of their health and provide adequate medicines, where me and my father, Sashi Bhusan Swain , President of the Ashram along with other office bearers involved. We are committed to do such service regularly in every year at a certain interval. Swami jee is interested to extend the school to provide the children more space for their study.

I was fascinated by a girl child,Sweety, (the name given by me) who was extremely beautiful. I could not resist myself to take few portraits of her along with her family and friends at the slum. I wish to adopt the child for her education in near future.There is always a great hope for slum dwellers....Government will come forward and help them for their upliftment...

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15 responses

  • Davide Simone

    Davide Simone (Deleted) said (29 Aug 2012):

    The pictures are beautiful. your story makes me bleed my heart.
    Saroy, you're a wonderful person.
    your friend Davide VOTED

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (29 Aug 2012):

    Thank you Davide... This is a real picture of our society and we are all responsible directly or indirectly. They need care and love from all of us.

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield gave props (30 Aug 2012):

    An excellent story of the truth of the situation, and a wonderful compilation of photos. These children seem not to realize they are poor, and isn't that a thing of beauty, that they can achieve happiness no matter the circumstances!! Well done, Saroj!!

  • Michele Wambaugh

    Michele Wambaugh (Deleted) said (30 Aug 2012):

    WONDERFUL, Saroj! magnificent photos & touching story, which I know from my many visits to India. BRAVO!

  • Donald Garrett

    Donald Garrett gave props (30 Aug 2012):

    VOTED! A marvelous photo essay that show not only the beauty of the people, but their cleanliness and care for each other, with hope for a better life.

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain said (30 Aug 2012):

    Thank you my dear friend!!! Truth is always true....

  • Claire Crocker

    Claire Crocker gave props (1 Sep 2012):

    Very moving... I hope that your story helps make a positive difference in the lives of those living in slums. Your photos are wonderful!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (3 Sep 2012):

    Thank you Clarie!!!

  • Etan Doronne

    Etan Doronne gave props (3 Sep 2012):

    Agree with Susan above. And I must say adults are happy to share even their little pot of luck with a by passer. Happened to me on even a side street in Mumbai. With a family cooking supper on the sidewalk, the wife invited me to join them. It's hard to explain how deep it touched me and my heart grew wider. That is another manifestation of what is the essence of India. I was smiling, asked what is she cooking, it was tomato dish. My apetite needed something else but I said I will come again, gave her 10 Rupee note and went on with a song in my heart.

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (3 Sep 2012):

    Thanks Eyan... It was nice you could agree to her invitation... They must be very happy and a lifetime lovely treasure of love you left with them .... God bless!!!

  • brenda burk

    brenda burk gave props (5 Sep 2012):

    You have a heart of gold

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley gave props (14 Sep 2012):

    Very touching story and photographs. Your wish to adopt the girl is heartwarming. Good luck Saroj!

  • Sonia Adam Murray

    Sonia Adam Murray gave props (15 Sep 2012):

    Beautiful photos accompanied by a a very detailed and honest assessment, very well done! I also voted for your story to be Story of the Week Good Luck it deserves publication and recognition. Also hopefully it will open people's eyes!!!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (16 Sep 2012):

    Thank you Sonia!! For your encouragement ...and interest...

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (30 Sep 2012):

    Thanks Andrew Dutton for your kind nomination.

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