A whopping 190 million people are thought to live in a slum or informal settlements throughout South Asia, even though there has been a global decline in slums at the start of the millennium, moreover, India is now set to beat China in being the most populated country in the world and the number of people living in slums is only increasing. As a result, more people are losing their access to clean water and sanitation and such living conditions are making life difficult, particularly for girls and women. However, many organizations in the country are bringing reforms like cleanliness, technology, financing, and healthcare to these areas and at the heart of this is the efforts of women.
The Karmika School of Construction Workers is helping women become their own advocates
Women are being called the essential fabric of India more than half of all construction workers (about 30 million) are women, who with little to no training are doing heavy work like mixing cement and digging. One among many organizations working to empower low-income women, the Karmika School of Construction Workers is helping women become their own advocates by helping them gain improved infrastructure and facilities. Also, the Mahila Housing Trust has noted that ” habitat conditions and hygiene services have notably improved across Ahmedabad and further afield, with more than 17,000 houses built, 48,000 households receiving safe drinking water and 56,000 gaining access to toilet facilities in relation to Mahila Housing Trust’s empowerment work,” reported The Diplomat. Their empowerment work has spread to Nepal and Bangladesh and is also spreading awareness about climate change.
27,000 women in more than 100 slums have been reached
A majority of these organizations are run by women who train other women and therefore, the entire community is reached and until today, 27,000 women in more than 100 slums have been reached. Equipping women with the skills and confidence needed to get better housing and facilities is only the first step to ensuring that they are empowered and that they also empower others. “More than 1,500 women have been trained as “climate-saathis,” or climate companions, in Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Ranchi, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Dhaka, and Kathmandu.” However, there is so much more to be done because of the vast number of those living in such areas, it will take more than a few organizations to ensure that all women come out of their poverty. Furthermore, making them aware of climate change and its impact on the community is something that will help change women, their families, and their communities.
Image credit: The Buckminster Fuller Institute