Children growing up in slums experience a childhood that often defies the imagination of both the ‘innocent childhood’ proponents and the ‘universal childhood’ advocates. The slums typically lack proper sanitation, safe drinking water, or systematic garbage collection; there is usually a severe shortage of space inside the houses where the children live, and no public spaces dedicated to their use. But that does not mean that these children have no childhood, only a different kind of childhood that sees them playing on rough, uneven ground, taking on multiple roles in everyday life, and sharing responsibilities with adults in domestic and public spaces in the community. Children can be seen everywhere as one enters a slum. They play on the rough ground and vacant lots dotted with graves, in the open spaces in the centre where garbage is manually sorted. The parked rickshaws, vending carts, cars and bikes all served as play props in the streets. As soon as they can walk, children can be seen outdoors walking around mostly barefoot, climbing on debris and petting goats that freely roam around. Girls as young as 5 carry infants and toddlers on their hip and move around freely in the narrow pedestrian bylanes of the region. These situations, conditions together impact a lot on their health life. Children are malnourished and these conditions further deteriotate their health. It affects their studies and many are bound to leave school. Then their parents make them to work as they get an extra person earning for the family.
We wanted to break this vicious circle by providing extra coaching coupled with Health Food, Medical Check Up, follow up & administration of tonics. We get their haemoglobin test done in the beginning of the academic year and iron supplements are given to the needy, within a year their haemoglobin rises. We monitor their weight/height regularly, provide spectacles to needy children. We give them banana, sprouts, dates, homemade Energy Bars on regular basis, with the result, not only their health, but their grades have improved too. We also conduct Free Medical Camp with medicines, Tests for the slum dwellers too.