Case Stories

Pavement dwellers refers to dwellings built on the footpaths/pavements of city streets, which use the walls or fences which separate building compounds from the pavement and street outside. Materials include cloth, corrugated iron, cardboard, wood, plastic, and sometimes also bricks or cement.

According to a survey and our experience at Aashansh, pavement dwellers are primarily first generation migrants who moved to Mumbai sometimes 30 to 50 years ago, and who have lived on the pavement of public roadways ever since. They are completely invisible as far as local, state, and national policies are concerned.

It is seen that approximately half of the pavement dwellers to be from the poorest districts in the state of Maharashtra, with the other half came from the poorest parts of wider India. Many came as victims of drought, famine, earthquakes or religious persecution or riots. Others came as a result of a complete breakdown in their livelihoods where they had been living. Pavement dwellers migrate to Mumbai hoping to capitalize on the wealth and job opportunities that the city offers. They are typically forward-thinking, seeking to build lives in the city that give the next generation better opportunities than would have been possible in the village.

Here are some of our students from the community of street/payment dwellers who are either hoping for a better living or have just lost hopes in the past years.

Neha

A bright young girl with dreams in her eyes. She comes from the community of street dwellers but she differs from them as she is now taking control over her life. We met her few years ago while she used to scratch her head, pale dead looking and angry looking face, no clothing sense, no talking sense etc and much more that you and we usually encounter either in a street or a slum community.

Its been couple of years that we have her at Aashansh as a student. She is grown up now, finds ways to improve her self, She goes to an English medium school, gets mentored by the owner of a business in India and comes to Aashansh on a regular basis. She today shows immense leadership skills, she understand quite good English, and ensure to grow with her capabilities each day.

Amit

Amit is an eight year old boy who is well-spoken, neat and respectful. He is currently in grade level? at Aadarsh Nagar School in Worli, and works hard in class. Both his appearance and schoolwork are very organised and he takes a lot of pride in doing so. Amit is currently living with another family, as he has lost his mother. Although he has faced many hardships, he is a very diligent student and is fully committed to learning, both through school and his mentorship sessions.

During his mentorship sessions, Amit is focused and is quick to grasp basic spelling and arithmetic. When faced with a challenge topic, he will persevere until he fully understands it and is then able to apply it later. For example, when learning addition, he was initially only adding three digit numbers. However, within only a couple hours, he actually requested a seven digit number, and got the question correct! His intelligence as well as his excitement about learning will both be huge contributing factors to success in his future.

When he is older, Amit would really like to be ambition? and his mentors at Aashansh have no doubts that he will be successful in doing so. Not only is Amit a good student, but he also has a great sense of humour and knows how to get his way! All of these qualities make him a role model student, friend, brother and child who is completely unforgettable.

Abishekh

Abishekh is an energetic and eager ten year old boy who is currently in 5th Grade at Aadarsh Nagar in Worli, Mumbai. He is living in a house with seven of his brothers and sisters, along with an inattentive mother who is currently unemployed and struggling to provide for her large family. Despite his hardships, Abhishekh can charm every person he meets with his infectious smile and energy.

In the classroom and at his mentorship sessions, Abhishekh is an attentive listener who is eager to impress his teachers, mentors or anyone else who will listen! Abhishekh doesn't know what classes he has in school, but he definitely learns basic science, maths and language. He adores his teachers and his mentor, Sahil. He works hard to please them in any way that he can.

Abhishekh's greatest asset is his ambitiousness. He will not only complete any task given to him, but he will make sure that he does it well. Even though he lacks support from his family, he is internally motivated to perform well. One day, Abhishekh wants to be a police officer and will definitely work hard to achieve this dream, as there is nothing that Abhishekh hates more than feeling like he has failed.

Roshni

A bright cute little girl with dreams in her eyes. She is Neha’s sister and comes from a cooperative family. Even though she comes from a street community, her parents are very cooperative and would not leave a chance to get their children educated. She is very naughty. Many times we have lost of many important sources and links (stake holders) as she never stops to explore the fun she has with Aashansh teachers and mentors. She constantly looks for ways to explore her naughtiness but is equally responsible for what she does. She understand social ethics and uses golden words like sorry, thank you and please to ease the situation. We met her few years ago, just like her elder sister, she used to scratch her head while she had lies in her head, pale dead looking and angry looking face or rather a frustrated/irritated looking face, no clothing sense, no talking sense etc and much more that you and we usually encounter either in a street or a slum community.

Its been couple of years that we have her at Aashansh as a student. She is grown up now, finds ways to improve her self, She goes to an English medium school with her sister, gets mentored by the owner of a business in India with her sister and comes to Aashansh on a regular basis. She today shows immense leadership skills, she understand quite good English, and ensure to grow with her capabilities each day while she also explores her naughtiness and destroys things around :D ;) but we love her for what she is.

Shyam

Shyam is short for Shyamsundar Prajapati. A naughty yet a very responsible child. He comes from a street community and almost every day he faces abuse (physical and mental), has to go and fish for family, lives in dirt, dampness etc and many issues.

In-spite of so many issues, Shyam stands out as a leader amongst his peers and children in school and at Aashansh. His mentors and teachers at Aashansh are just to fond of him. He is reliable and trust worthy. You give him some work to do and he gets back to you asap with you work done! Trained and mentored by Aashansh, he is made so capable today that he can set examples for others to follow in the community and seems like he is already setting an example.

Shyam has his own ambition and only shares his dreams with people whom he trusts the most; His mentor and few at Aashansh. He wishes to become a pilot when he grows up and his math is just awesome. He has good critical thinking skills and makes responsible decision.

We at Aashansh are confident that he will surely achieve his priceless dream.

While being at Aashansh, we are simply creating a world where they can enjoy, live their childhood, explore themselves, grow with us and climb the ladder of opportunity