‘Jab policewale aate hain, hume bohot dar lagta hain … Woh bolte hain, kal yeh ghar tootne wala hain (When the policemen come, we feel very scared. They say, tomorrow we are going to break down this home)’, narrates 12-year-old Madhuri Dedhe of CBD Belapur, Navi Mumbai.
Listen to her video story or check the transcript below:
My name is Madhuri Lakshman Dedhe. I am 12-years-old.
Sometimes when our house has been broken down, we haven’t had access to water, so we have needed to walk very far to get some water. It has been more difficult at night. I feel scared to go far from home at night, even when my mother and father are walking next to me.
When the policemen come, we feel very scared. They say that these jhopdis (houses) will be broken down tomorrow. Our studies often get interrupted because we don’t have any space to study when this happens. It’s very difficult. I have a younger brother whose studies have also been affected in this way.
When the policemen come, we often don’t know what they will do to someone or how they will break our houses.
In a competition that I participated in from school, I placed second. But my certificate was lost when my house was broken down, so I couldn’t go for the next stage of the competition.
I wish I had a place to play in and that people would stop breaking down our houses. We cannot continue our studies if this keeps happening. Every time the house is broken down, we feel terrible. We have to put in all that effort again to remake it.
At home I draw, play with my brother, and sometimes I take a nap in the afternoon. We have a TV, a fan, and light in the house. It’s a small house but I like it the way it is.
Resettling in a new area would feel both good and bad. I would feel bad because we have friends in this area. We can make new friends, but we would miss the old ones dearly.
An ideal home
My dream home should be exactly like this house, expect that I would like it to be pakka (permanent in structure).
#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. Stay tuned.