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  • 1. Save the Lives Campaign2009-2010 Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (Campaign for the rights of the Homeless)
  • 2. 1BackgroundAashray Adhikar Abhiyan (AAA) is a rights-based programme of Action AidIndia, which believes that homeless people have the right to live in peace, dignityand security.Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (AAA), a campaign for the rights of the homeless, sinceyear 2000 aims to make an impact on the status with respect to exploitation andmarginalization of the homeless people in Delhi. It developed into a model which gotreplicated in other parts of the country. AAAs strength has been its participation mode ofworking. A large majority of its field workers viz: community workers are the homeless whoconstitute AAAs field workforce.The aim of the initiative is to:• Empower, mobilise and strengthen the capacity of the homeless so they are able to assert their rights and live with honour and dignity.• Make the citizens and Government of Delhi recognises that the homeless have inalienable rights and that it is their responsibility to help the homeless live in dignity.Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan has been shouldering the responsibility of saving homelesshuman lives from severe cold during winter in collaboration with Government ofNCT of Delhi and Municipal Corporation of Delhi since year 2002-03 under thebanner of Save the Lives Campaign. Save the Lives Campaign is one of the majoractivities of Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan which is run during winter (November toMarch) in collaboration with Revenue Department, Government of NCT of Delhievery year and Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Civil Society joins this campaign in abig way in different capacities. Save the Lives Campaign 2009-2010
  • 3. Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (Campaign for the rights of the Homeless) The past record of AAAs work under winter campaign is as: Year No. of shelters 2002-03 13 2003-04 23 2004-05 46 2005-06 50 2006-07 54 Que for the entry into shelter–bldg. 2007-08 42 2008-09 42 Que for the entry into shelter (Tent) 2009-10 412
  • 4. 3U nder this campaign shelters are run in tents and buildings (in addition to the permanent shelters run in buildings) where beds and blankets are provided to protect the shelter users from severe cold. MCD opens additional buildings tobe run as shelters for the homeless for the winter season. These places are usuallythose ones which are unused govt. buildings. In addition to beds ` blankets, drinkingwater, first-aid and emergency health care, special food are also made available forthe shelter users. These shelters are ensured electricity supply so that the users do nothave to spend their nights in dark.Preparing for the winterThe process of the Save the Lives Campaign 2008-2009 began with a survey byAAA to identify unused government buildings for temporary shelters and locations forpitching up tents. It was almost the same as that of the last year. Delhis landscape isunder massive transition in the light of coming Common Wealth Games 2010. Atsome places, the sites had to be changed.This year, AAAs focus was on the central concentration zones of homeless population.The details were provided to the MCD and revenue department respectively. MCD onits own identified some new buildings for use during winters as night shelters.Subsequently, a meeting was convened under the Chairpersonship of Secretary(Revenue)/Divisional Commissioner, Govt. of NCT of Delhi on 27.11.2009 at 11.30a.m. in the chamber of the Secretary (Revenue), Delhi at 5-Shamnath Marg, Delhi todiscuss the issues relating to opening of temporary night shelters for the homeless inDelhi. NDPL and BSES, Department of social welfare, all commissioners of eachdistrict and some NGOs were present in the meeting. It was decided that the tentswould open in phases starting from the most concentration areas. More tents wouldbe added up if need arise. AAA volunteered to take up the tents in the areas where ithas been running other regular shelters and also temporary ones during the pastyears. Subsequent to this , a number of meetings were held from time to time, at theoffice of the Secretary (Revenue), Delhi and MCD to discuss other issues (like waterproofing, thick mattresses and need for blankets etc.) relating to temporary shelters.Roles and responsibilitiesMunicipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD): The additional buildings were opened on1st. December, 2009. MCD handed over these buildings to AAA for the winter periodDecember, 2009 to March, 2010. MCD arranged free electricity and water connectionin these buildings.Delhi Government, Revenue Department: On 4th December, 2009, DivisionalCommissioners office started pitching up tents at the proposed sites. NDPL and BSESprovided electricity connection with electricity meters. Save the Lives Campaign 2009-2010
  • 5. Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (AAA): AAA took over the possession of buildings and the tents and immediately provided a care taker for management of the shelter. The caretakers were selected through a process of interviews, group discussion and references and feedback on his/her record of volunteering with AAA. For women shelters, women caretakers were A Briefing session in progress Volunteers preparing for selected from homeless population. The the winter selected volunteers were provided with training on management aspects of the shelters, providing first aid, handling any emergency /crisis situation and record keeping of stocks and maintaining entry register of shelter users. Adequate number of blankets, first aid boxes was arranged and food grains by AAA and updated from time to time. The night out team was there in the field for the entire night visiting every shelter to oversee the shelter management and help the caretaker in case of any difficulty or need. AAA office was central control office on 24x7 bases with one field level control office at old Delhi. Civil Society Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan has 78 partner organizations both govt. and non-govt. organizations and many more concerned citizens working for the common goals to provide a dignified space to the homeless in this city. Like every winter, all our long time partners, individual friends of AAA started their campaign before the onset of winter for mobilizing woolens, clothes, blankets, food grains etc. for the homeless. Media fraternity supported the campaign in its own way which helped the work getting highlighted in the outside world. Our long time partner –Shree Dwarkadheesh Dharmik Sewa Smiti, who has always been the solid support to AAA by arranging as many numbers of blankets as AAA needs on returnable basis. This winter they again provided thousand blankets on returnable basis. This time judiciary too, acted on its own by taking up the issue of death of a Volunteers taking clothes for distribution among the homeless homeless during winters. Details of shelters managed by AAA This year AAA managed tents, at 13 locations, total number of tents were 28. Average daily rate of occupancy was of 70 persons and the total number of buildings was 6 with carrying capacity ranging from 60 to 350.Thus total number of temporary shelters were 34. Details of these shelters are as follows:.4
  • 6. 5TABLE 1Temporary Shelters in Tents Temporary Shelters in pucca buildingsS.No. PLACE No. of Tents S.1. Fountain Chowk, near night shelter 2 No. PLACE People2. Yamuna Bazar, Dandi Park 3 1. Community Center, Teli Warra Men3. Mithaipul Kothi On Over Bridge 2 2. Community Centre,4. Meena Bazar, Jama Masjid 2+1 (women) Sarai Phoos Men5. Nigam Bodh Ghat, Ring Road 3 3. Community Centre,6. Nizamuddin, DDA park 1+1 (women) Kabir Basti Men7. Delhi Gate, Opp. LNJP Hospital 2 4. Community Centre,8. Mori Gate, near Gokhle Market 1 Phool Mandi Men9. Jhandewalan near temple 2 5. Community Centre,10. Idgah, near MTNL office 1 Gali Boriyan Men11. Pusa Road roundabout, 6. Community Centre, near Rachna Theatre 2 (families) Kotla Mubarakpur Men12. Shahdra near water tank 213. Ratanpuri Chowk, opposite Pusa Research Institute 2 As mentioned earlier permanent shelters, running through out the year, were also14. Anand Parvat, near J.J colony, used for servicing homeless population. backside liberty cinema 1 There were 7 such buildings which are Total number of tents 28 as follows:TABLE 2Pucca Building (Regular Shelters)S. No. PLACE People1 Fatehpuri, Aashray Griha Men and children2 Fountain Chowk, Aashray Griha Men3 Community Center, Jhandewalan Road-I Men4 Community Centre, Jhandewalan Road-II Men5 Community Centre, Gali Ravi Das Men6 Community Centre, Gali Tel Mill Men7 Nand Nagri, Porta Cabin Aashray Griha Men Save the Lives Campaign 2009-2010
  • 7. Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (Campaign for the rights of the Homeless) TABLE 3 Services in the shelters: Mattresses, n blankets Occupancy of shelters Temporary Shelters in Tents (Frequency distribution) Visit n by medical van of Govt.s health department Month Men Women & children Total December ‘09 11931 817 12748 Drinking n water January ‘10 27713 1637 29350 Toilets n February ‘10 22429 2752 25181 First n aid March,10 18526 3278 21804 Library, n newspapers Total 80599 8484 89083* Television n Clinic n by qualified doctor Honble Chief Minister, Smt. Sheila Dikshit along with Sh. Mangat Ram Singhal, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare; Mr. K.S. Mehra, Commissioner, MCD on her visit to Shelters TABLE 4 TABLE 5 Occupancy of shelters in Occupancy of shelters in Temporary Buildings Permanent Buildings (Men) (Frequency distribution) (Men) (Frequency distribution) Month Men Women & children Total Month Total December ‘09 3586 124 3710 December ‘09 28869 January ‘10 7696 132 7828 January ‘10 34515 February ‘10 5938 129 6067 February ‘10 30642 March,10 4868 120 4984 March,10 24402 Total 22088 505 22593* Total 118428* *Total reach out through shelters for this winter period was 2, 30,104.6
  • 8. 7 Food distribution AAA runs a common kitchen at one of the shelters wherein it provides meals to the patients discharged from the hospitals & are undergoing treatment and to the children. Till they recoup with their health, they are provided with hot three times meals. This kitchen fed 3822 persons during four months of winter. In addition to these people, hospitalized patients were also provided with additional nutrition. Gur and Chana Distribution Volunteer with Chana Inside shelters people having *Gur and *Chana Volunteer with Gur * Gur- Jaggery ; Chana- Roasted Black Gram Since it was not feasible for AAA to reach out to all shelters Gur and Chana was distributed among the shelter users. At 28 tents, 10,000 homeless were provided with Gur and Chana. Out of these tents, 6 tents were managed by other NGO. The night out team distributed gur and chana to about 8000 shelter users in Building shelters. Campaign for woolens and clothes by our partners AADI, our partner for woolens campaign, started its campaign for collecting woolens from its own partner organizations and individual friends. Clothes were distributed widely both inside shelters as well as on streets. AAA distributed clothes in Sadar Bazar slums when a major fire broke there. Altogether 21000 clothes were Children inside shelter distributed during the entire winter period. Sh.S.C Sinha, Exe. Director, Oriental Bank of Commerce, withblankets for the children at shelter Save the Lives Campaign 2009-2010
  • 9. Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (Campaign for the rights of the Homeless) Developments AAA has an experience of leading this campaign for years together. The tents are erected in open parks, side passages etc. There are a number of landowning agencies in Delhi. Thus, the entire work of winter requires proper coordination among all the departments and bodies of the government. CASE STUDY 1 At Pusa Road, There are about 100 families migrated from Karnataka about 40 years ago living around Pusa road. They are engaged in petty jobs like balloon selling etc. Due to construction work all around and then metro rail passing by that side, they kept being displaced from place to place, For the last few year they have been living in open inside this roundabout surrounded from all sides by a fast moving traffic. AAA had been working with these families for the last six years. For the last three years, with AAAs efforts, tents used to be erected in the same roundabout to save these people from cold weather. AAAs volunteers from the community used to manage these tents AAA at the site-pusa road AAA arguing with MCD officials for not removing the tent with the people This winter again, the tent was erected in first week of December, 2009 and was in operation for about a weeks time. So, the shelter in tent was a boon to them in this chilly weather. All of a sudden, the concerned govt. official from MCD objected to this tent inside the roundabout as he did not have any communication from his department about this tent. AAA explained to the DC about this initiative by the State and asked him to give some8
  • 10. 9 The temporary shelters not only provided a roof to the homeless but also provided a shelter to the stranded travelers from Assam. Police arrived at Pusa road Condolence meeting at Pusa Gole Chakkar at Bhimas deathgrace period to find out an alternate site for the tent so that no one dies in cold. Even thehot arguments and AAAs resistance did not stop the Official to remove the tent. On 23rd.December,2010, the tent was brought down with the help of police and other MCDofficials. AAA team immediately got engaged in finding out alternate site nearby. Fewlocations identified near that area were rejected by the people. They did not want to moveto those places. Finally within one weeks time, an alternate site (Ratanpuri) nearest to theprevious site was identified and the people agreed to this site. AAAs immediate focus wasto save people from the cold. AAA reported to the Revenue secretary office about thislocation and on 3rd. January,2010, two tents were erected at that place, one for womenand for women and children.Morning of the 1st. January, 2010, brought the news of death of a young man Bhimafrom the families while sleeping outside. There was much furor and the MCD was taken totask by the High Court by taking suo-motto notice of the incident. Though this man neverused to sleep inside the tent when it was operational, still it was unfortunate. Within oneweeks time approximately, two more tents were pitched in the gole chakkar.With this incident the community became rigid and demanded for a tent inside the sameroundabout and not to move to the Ratnapuri chowk tent – the alternate site. Still, AAAtried to persuade some people to move to Ratnapuri chowk tent and not shiver in the openin the cold and avoid any more death. Some people moved to the new tent leaving behindone group.Though after some time-----, tent was erected in the same park again at theorder of the High Court. Save the Lives Campaign 2009-2010
  • 11. Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (Campaign for the rights of the Homeless) CASE STUDY 2 On 26th. December, 2009, Sh.Rajeev Kumar, SDM (HQ), Revenue Department, Government of Delhi and Mr. M.C. Sharma, Dyp. Director of Social Defence department of social welfare and Sanjay Kumar of Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan on a night out for insuring the best possible facilities for the homeless of Delhi. Around 9.30 p.m. Mr. Rajeev Kumar noticed a lady weeping near one of the tents. Upon being asked, she hesitatingly narrated her story. She along with her husband, twelve year old son and one more relative were en-route to Sonipat for some employment there. At old Delhi railway station, their all belongings, cash got stolen. Their all contacts saved in the mobile were lost in the mobile. The entire family was stranded with no money, no contact number in a new unknown city. The lady told that, Some one at Railway station told us to go to Jamuna Bazar tent where we can sleep and feel safe. That is the reason we are here. The SDM, (HQ) immediately gave some Rs. 200 for food to the family. AAAs volunteer Mr.Praveen Kumar took them to a shelter at Jama Masjid and provided food, medicine to the sick child. The lady stayed at the women shelter being managed by AAA. The others stayed in mens section. AAAs volunteer provided meals to the entire family. On 27th December 09, evening, AAA volunteers brought the family to another shelter located at Fatehpuri near old Delhi Railways station where other team members of AAA had taken rail tickets to send them back. When that family reached at the shelter, the lady and the child were seemingly upset and scared because the family had gone through the experience of homeless life in an unknown city. Family was realizing the pain of the losing home but she was thanking GOD that they found AAA. The child was complaining of acute stomach pain. After taking medicine and hot fresh meal at our kitchen the child felt okay. AAA arranged one night stay at Gurudwara Shishganj Saheb, dharamshala at chandni chowk. The family was relieved to a great extent. On 28th of December AAA arranged their railway ticket to their home, gave three time meals home cooked meals for the journey , two blankets each ,woolen clothes , packed food , four tickets and five hundred rupees in cash for further journey from Darjeeling to their hometown. AAA volunteers remained with the family at the railways station till the train started. The family has hopefully reached their home and got saved from being homeless. After reaching hometown all the family members called up many a times and thanked AAA for the efforts. Family consisted of Ms. Puja (34), Vijay (39), Ashish (12), and Bahadur (28).10
  • 12. 11Other ActivitiesDuring winters, though AAAs focus shifts towards saving peoples lives from coldweather, its other regular programmes like community health outreach services, foodfor the sick and children, education programme for children; free legal aid at beggarscourt as well as at Appellate court continued with the same pace.Some shelters serveas a half way homes for the patients who are under long term treatment but dontneed hospitalization.The activities are explained as:1. Community Health Outreach ServicesAAAs existing community health outreach service acts a boulder to the additionaldemand during winters. During the Save the Lives Campaign 2008-2009 AashrayAdhikar Abhiyan also reached out to 2966 people through its various healthinitiatives. The details of cases handled by various health initiatives of AashrayAdhikar Abhiyan during the campaign are shown below:TABLE 5Number of Patients attended by Community Health Outreach ServicesMonth HIGH SSA Emergency/Crisis* Mental De-addiction Total Health sessions & medicineDecember, 2009 516 91 17 14 152 790January, 2010 547 167 20 15 156 905February, 2010 304 108 14 22 198 646March, 2010 314 96 15 23 147 595Total 1665 462 66 140 653 2966* An attendant was provided to all the hospitalized patients and arrangements for special food were also made alongwith purchasing medicines from the market.2. Organising and Mobilising the HomelessAll the homeless do not use shelter due to various factors. To reach out to theunreached, AAAs specially trained team reaches out to those who sleep on the streetsat their convenient time. This team adopts more than 20 ways involving them intothis campaign. Through all the activities thus, AAA reaches out to 20,765 persons. Save the Lives Campaign 2009-2010
  • 13. Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (Campaign for the rights of the Homeless) Minister of Health, Ms. Kiran Walia, Ms. Asha Menon, Secretary, Delhi Legal Services Authority, Mr. Hashmi, Secretary, Health, Dr. Nimesh G. Desai, Director, IHBAS, Director, AAA at HIGH clinic at Jama Masjid12
  • 14. 133. Legal Aid At The Beggar-Court And Appellate Court(Since 2001)AAAs law research and advocacy unit has been working consistently on studying andanalyzing the anti poor laws being practiced against the homeless and urban poor.The homeless and the urban poor being socially excluded fall easy prey to such laws.Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 (BPBA) is one of such laws upon whichAAA has been working continuously since 2001. AAA has been providing free legalaid to the people arrested under this law and unable to pay fee to advocate for theirdefence both at beggar court and appellate court. People arrested under the Act whoare capable of paying the Advocate fee do not approach AAA.During the period from December, 2009 to March 2010, AAA provided free legal aidto 210 homeless and poor arrested under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act,1959 at Beggar-Court. Out of these, 135 accused persons were released after dueadmonition on furnishing personal bond, 5 accused persons were ordered by the courtto be released after due admonition on furnishing personal bond and surety bond (inthe absence of any one to come forward to stand surety for them, they do not comeout of detention), 70 accused persons were ordered to be detained in certifiedinstitutions (incidentally, most of these 70 persons were patients suffering fromleprosy). These leprosy patients were sent to certified institution at Tahirpur, Delhi andthe remaining were sent to certified institution at Lampur and Nirmal Chhaya.AAA provides legal aid to those who are sent to certified institution after beingconvicted under the said law. During these four months of winters, AAA filed 29appeals at the appellate court (Sessions court). Out of these 29 appeals, 24 wereallowed meaning the convicts got released; 5 cases are pending in different courts. Sh. Mangat Ram Singhal Celebrating Holi together Minister of Labour, Social Welfare, Delhi on Christmas Day with Save the Lives Campaign 2009-2010
  • 15. Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (Campaign for the rights of the Homeless) It is important to note that the number of people being provided legal aid keeps varying from time to time. The variance depends upon various factors like frequency And intensity of arrests and raids. 5. Trainings Trainings and development helps inincreasing job knowledge and skills of team at each level. It helps to expand the horizons of human intellect and an overall personality of the volunteers. Such on the job trainings constitute an important component of AAAs work. During winter period a number of trainings were conducted for capacity building of volunteers associated with winter work. Some of these trainings were : Trainings on Legal Awareness; Awareness about rights of the homeless and volunteerism; Child rights and protection; Developing leadership skills; Understanding mental health issues among homeless; Yoga practice; Gender equity and Development. 6. VOLUNTEERS About 120 homeless volunteers and six core team members worked 24x7 braving the chilling cold to save the homeless from cold and to achieve the above mentioned reach out. The volunteers remained on the streets day in and day out to ensure that the chilling cold could not claim any vulnerable life. AAA ready to welcome homeless14
  • 16. 15 Homage AAA bid its last pray to its the senior most associate – Sh. Prithvi Chand Baba. AAAs team performed his last rites with full rituals. He passed away in the hospital at the age of 85 years.AAA pays its homage to all those homeless who might havesuccumbed to this years harsh winter and gone unnoticed. Save the Lives Campaign 2009-2010
  • 17. Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (Campaign for the rights of the Homeless) The most important aspect of the campaign was that the entire campaign was managed by the homeless volunteers groomed by AAA over a period of time. It is becaue of the utmost commitment and sincerity of the entire team of AAA who sacrificed their sleep and cosy comforts of beds in the chilly nights, went without meals at many times, got sick due to overwork and stress but went relentlessly to provide comfort to their brethren in need and thus AAA could succeed in achieving such a commendable reach out in collaboration with Delhi Government and MCD, Slum & JJ Wing. Celebration Time: This year is marked as a Beghar Muskan Varsh by the homeless. AAA believes in an environment of a family for the homeless. Within this family, the homeless irrespective of caste and creed celebrate festivals of all religions together. On December 25th, 2009, AAA celebrated Christmas at Delhi Gate, park near a temporary shelter. Honble Minister of Social Welfare and Labour, Mr. Mangat Ram Singhal graced the occasion with his presence. Leecy, a homeless lady and cancer survivor celebrated her birthday the same evening. Clothes and sweets were distributed among all present. The people enjoyed music and dance programme. Community band from Pusa Road played their band. It was a night with lights evening which showed the brighter side of the otherwise gloomy life of the homeless. Acknowledgements The entire winter work was carried out by AAA in complete coordination with both MCD and Divisional Commissioners office. To oversee the work and to support to the campaign, Delhi Chief Minister, Minister, Social Welfare and Labour; Minister of Health and Commissioner, MCD and Chairman, MCD standing Committee Chairperson visited AAAs shelters personally. AAA is grateful to all its partner organizations, media, individual friends and all others who joined first time in this endeavour and contributed in different capacities and manner to make this campaign successful.16
  • 18. Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan (Campaign for the rights of the Homeless) S-442 school Block, shakarpur, Delhi-110092; phone: 91+ 011-22481609 mail: creatinghomes@yahoo.co.uk; www.homelesspeople.in; blog:www.aaahomeless.blogspotSave the Lives Campaign2009-2010