‘Mujhe ek alag kamra chaahiye (I want a separate room of my own). There should be a separate toilet, kitchen and study room for us at home’, appeals 12-year-old Gulsabha from Ambedkar Chowk in Ambujwadi, Malad, Mumbai, who lives in constant fear of her home being evicted. Listen to her story in her own words or read the complete transcript below.
My name is Gulsabha Idrisi and I am 12-years-old. I live in Ambujwadi at Ambedkar Chowk.
Near the Monia Masjid, where I stay, many houses have broken down. The houses aren’t stable in structure, because people lack money to build them properly. There isn’t a ground outside the houses for children to play in either.
We don’t have toilets in our houses. Small kids often need washrooms but they are denied this. There is no space in the house to study because there is just one room which functions as everything, with a kitchen, washing space.
When they come to evict us and start breaking down our houses, we have to try and move all our things out immediately. Some people, even small children, have died at these times. We have these types of problems.
A lot of houses were in a terrible state. some have been built better over the years, a lot of other houses are still in a bad shape. In the jungle area nearby, a lot of pakka (permanent) houses have been built.
I would like to have a room of my own. There should be separate washrooms for everyone, instead of one washroom used by so many of us. I also want a room to study in. Everyone should have good houses in our area that aren’t made out of temporary materials.
There should definitely be a ground for children to play in. There should be a nearby school, so that children don’t have to travel far off. Children should get to do what they want. For example, I really like karate! There are a lot of kids who like cricket as well so there should be a way for them to play this game.
An ideal home
My ideal home would be a house surrounded by greenery, and my friend should be nearby with a similar house of her own. We will have nice, big coconut trees around us!
#UprootedChildhoods is a collaboration between YUVA and Leher, attempting to spark dialogue on a critical yet oft invisibilised concern — the views of children on housing. The campaign draws from YUVA’s in-depth interventions with children over the years across cities, and Leher’s focus and commitment to child rights, with a preventive approach towards child protection. Through the different blogs, photo essays, video stories, infographics and other formats we hope to present many faces of urban childhoods.