Slums in Indian cities have varied problems ranging from housing to health. Housing in slums becomes a major health concern because residents of slums live in overcrowded situations. Majority of the households are simple one-room structures, a majority of them with dirt floors and poor ventilation.
One of the problems faced is the availability of electricity for lighting. This creates a hurdle for the slum dwellers to work in the evening or study which in turn makes it difficult for them to climb out of poverty.
Hamal Basti is a slum in the heart of Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Most of the houses are occupied by migrants from the nearby villages in search of work. The houses are rented and the tenants even pay for the 4 hour electricity supplied in the evening from an illegal connection. Even after paying for the lighting they are not spared from the erratic power supply.
The houses are made out of scrap metal and wood leaving no option for ventilation. This has led to lack of visibility inside the houses even during the day time.
A five feet by four feet dingy room with just a single CFL bulb, is a typical slum dwelling facing a gutter. This is the place where 15 year old Nandini lives with her Mother, the sole earning member of the family. They live in Hamaal Basti an urban slum in Secunderabad area.
A student of Railway High School, Nandini has just passed her 9th grade and is going to begin her preparation for her 10th board exams, during her ongoing summer holidays. She hurriedly ruffles through her belongings at her house to show us the report card which constantly showed her faring either rank 1 or rank 2.
Her Mother who earns barely Rs.2, 500 a month pays Rs.500 rent for the place they stay. The owners pay their electricity bill and hence turn off the electric supply to all the tenants during the day and provide electricity from 6 PM in the evenings.
An elated Nandini on receiving the study light of TET said ‘I plan to use this light for my study preparations during the day, as my house hardly receives any light!’
Ten year old Sravani has just completed her class 5 and is a student of Railway School, Chilkalgudda. A bright student at school Sravani likes playing with her friends in her free time. She lost her dad at a young age and lives with her Mother who works as a maid in the houses nearby.
Sravani is also a resident of Hammal Basti, an urban slum dwelling at Secunderabad. The house she lives in has an incandescent bulb only. Sravani’s mother pays the tenants Rs.500 as a monthly rent for the house they live in. The tenants pay up the electricity bill for the family and hence cut off the supply from 6 AM till 6 PM every day. To add to this, load shedding of two hours a day makes it tougher for the family.
On being given the study light from TET, a happy Sravani listens eagerly about the functioning of the lamp and looks forward to using it.
When visited 20 days later, both Sravani and Nandini were happy not only for having a light to study but also that the tiny light illuminates their tiny houses for the household work.