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Home for homeless

Organized by: Aamir Sayeed

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THE STORY:

Hello, this is AAMIR SAYEED 23 yrs old student from hyderabad, india. I wanna provide shelter for the homeless people in hyderabad. One of the biggest metro city in india. There are several homeless people here out of which the total no. of 3,498, around 1,539 expressed their willingness to have a shelter. Including 978 women sleep on roads, pavements, open spaces without proper shelter and there are 447 such locations around the city.

While 1,209 had migrated to the city for a livelihood and had found themselves homeless, around 724 were on the roads after arriving in the city as patient attendants for medical treatments. Nearly 488 of them were in the city for temporary works and another 127 of them were just in transit. Over 300 had no permanent home whereas 647 had various other reasons for sleeping on roads.

One of the biggest metro city in india. There are several homeless people here out of which the total no. of 3,498, around 1,539 expressed their willingness to have a shelter. And of the total, 1,078 were beggars. South zone topped the list of those who were here in the city with temporary works and those who had migrated for a livelihood where as those who had come for medical treatments and as patient attendants were the most in Central zone. i wish if someone can take of the responsibility to provide them a shelter as our govt. just dont care for the poor people.

A man was probably a rag picker, or maybe not. The stench of the garbage was incredible but the homeless man was sleeping soundly. We were near LB Nagar (on) Sagar Road in Hyderabad.

Two other sewer pipes showed signs of being in use by homeless persons. They would return later at night. Clearly, the degradation of this experience would fail to give them a sense of being a part of human society.

Some kilometres away, a homeless rickshaw puller is sleeping on his rickshaw despite the discomfort. This is the only way he knows to prevent his rickshaw from being stolen.

Though they are unable to afford rent, the homeless are usually part of numerous economic activities in the city. Most of them need to live in the vicinity of their work site since they work long hours and earn little money. Take for instance head loaders, or those who work in the packing industry, or in marriage halls.

It is past midnight as we drive through Hyderabad - through markets, railway stations, bus stands and parks, where most of the homeless stay.

At the Paradise hotel area in Secunderabad, there seem to be homeless people everywhere, clinging to whatever space they get, outside shops, in corridors or on the steps.

This group of women with children was forced to migrate to Hyderabad from Nalgonda after successive years of drought. In the city they survive by begging.

Women and children are the most vulnerable on the streets.

At the Kachiguda railway station, the police drive out the homeless and do not allow them to sleep on the platforms at night. During the day however, the homeless blend into the crowd - a young boy picking up plastic bottles, a man in drunken stupor, and senior citizens searching for food.

This woman says she is from Maharashtra and has not eaten a proper meal for days. She appears to suffer from mental health problems.

At the traffic island outside, we meet Kamala and Shankar from Warangal district. They say it was difficult to survive in their village.

To rent a room in the city would cost them about 2,000 rupees a month and Kamala earns only 1800 rupees.

"We are not certain where we will sleep each night," says Kamala.

Her husband who broke his leg is unable to do any work as a daily wage labour. "There are many drunks at night who abuse her. I am unable to fight them because of my injury. Her protection is the main problem. We don't sleep at one place. We keep changing places," Shankar, Kamala's husband says.

"Each one of us spends Rs. 20 a day to have food, to use the toilet and have a bath - Rs. 10 to have a bath, Rs. 5 for washing clothes, Rs1 for using the toilet," Kamala told us.

Shankar says he is dependent on his wife. "She is earns Rs. 60 a day. We spend Rs. 40 a day on our daily needs. We are left with Rs. 20. I can't even lift 50 kilos. Whether I live or die, I am dependent on her."

The homeless are seen by nearly all governments as illegal, as an unwanted burden on the city. They are seen as people who come in the way of the city's beautification.

"There were a number of homeless people in the Char Minar circle. We found about eight hundred people. There are a lot of market areas here like Osmaangunj, Begum Bazaar, and even Char Minar itself, so there are a lot of business establishments here. Most of the people work here. And they seem to be migrants who came Hyderabad for livelihood. You have numerous categories of people. There are women, sometime they are mentally ill. There are children. You can see one person sitting there. She appears to have some mental disability,"says some people.

Many of the people using the shelter are migrants who came to the city for work and cannot manage because of the lack of low cost housing. With other family members dependent on them back home, they had to save some money.

"In a marriage hall, we have to arrange functions. Arrange the tables, we have to keep the stage and everything, arrange the plates, and when the party comes we have to serve them," says Subhan.

"I came 6 months ago to this shelter. Before I came to this shelter, I stayed in a lodge for Rs. 50 a day. After that I got to know that we were getting cheap accommodation here. So I came to this place. We are planning to stay for two more months here and then move to our own accommodation. We get work for only 7 months in a year. For 5 months we don't have work, because there are no marriages. If you earn Rs. 300 and sleep on the road, you could get robbed. At this night shelter you can keep your money safely in lockers," Subhan tells us.

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