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Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan

Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan

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  • 1. AAA AASHRAY ADHIKAR ABHIYAN 2011S-442, School Block, Shakarpur, Delhi-110092 Phone: 011-22481609Mobiles: 9868122997, 9312668807, 9810711644 E-Mail: Website: 1
  • 2. AAA Aashray Adhikar AbhiyanAashray Adhikar Abhiyan came into existence in the year 2000 as a direct project ofActionAid on the issue of urban homelessness in Delhi. Since then it has been workingin Delhi towards realisation of the rights of the homeless people as enshrined in theConstitution of India as well as in various International Conventions and Treaties.Homeless People in DelhiHomeless people have been defined by AAA as people who live on the streets, underbridges, in parks or in any other place not meant for human habitation including peoplewho live in night shelters.The majority of homeless people in Delhi are migrants from nearby states such as UttarPradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Facing poverty, displacement, naturalcalamities, violence, etc. in their villages, they come to Delhi in search of employmentand end up working largely as casual labourers, rickshaw pullers, construction workers,etc.There are destitute people as well. Some destitute people are born on the streets. But,most of them have runaway from their homes because of family problems, that is to say,being beaten, death in the family, property dispute, etc.Poverty and unemployment in rural India is the root cause of homelessness in Delhi.Moreover, the State is very insensitive to the needs of homeless people. In fact, it 2
  • 3. makes the lives of homeless people more and more difficult. Homeless people arecriminalised by various legislations. The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 is themost rampantly used instrument to get them rounded up for lack of proof of residenceand occupation in Delhi. They are excluded from government social welfare plans andschemes due to lack of residential address, ration cards, election identity cards, bankaccounts, birth certificates, etc. Homeless people are subject of constant policeharassment in the form of abuses, beatings, arrests in false cases under various laws,etc. Civil Society too does not treat them with equality and respect.Rapid Assessment Survey (RAS) in the year 2000In a Rapid Assessment Survey (RAS) in the year 2000, AAA counted 52,765 homelesspeople in Delhi. This number was the minimum number of homeless people in Delhi asthe said survey had certain limitations which made it impossible that every homelesscould have been counted. One can easily imagine what the number could be in the year2008 and the coming years.Survey on homeless women in Delhi in the year 2007A survey conducted by Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan in the year 2007 revealed that therewere ten thousand homeless women in Delhi.Approach of Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan to Combating Homelessness in DelhiAAA has adopted a rights based approach. It is based on the belief that homelesspeople, too, have the right to live with dignity, in peace and security. The United NationsUniversal Declaration on Human Right states: 3
  • 4. “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself [sic] and of his [sic] family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services…”This declaration is reinforced by the Indian Constitution which recognises basic rightssuch as the right to life and personal liberty, the right to shelter, right to health, right tofreedom from violence, right to work, right to freedom from exploitation, etc asfundamental rights. However, unfortunately the rights of homeless people are violatedday in day out in Delhi. The homeless people are denied access to civic amenities likewater and sanitation. They are not provided adequate food, cloth, shelter, medical care,employment, etc by the government. They are forced to work for wages below theminimum wage. They face daily beatings and harassment at the hands of police as theyhave no option but to sleep in the open because of lack of shelter.Aims of Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan are multi-fold To empower, strengthen and mobilise the homeless people so that they are able to assert their rights in order to live with honour and dignity. To make the homeless people capable of gainful employment. To make the citizens and the State recognise that the homeless people, too, have inalienable rights and that it is their responsibility to help the homeless people live with honour and dignity enjoying such rights. To provide certain services to the homeless people such as shelters, medical care, clothes, food, legal aid, education to homeless children, etc. 4
  • 5. Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan’s activities and interventionsSheltersAashray Adhikar Abhiyan has been working to secure safe shelters to the homelesspeople of Delhi where the homeless live with dignity. It runs permanent (round the year)shelters in buildings provided by MCD. It also runs temporary (during the winter)shelters in buildings provided by MCD. Moreover, it runs temporary (during the winter)shelters in tents erected by Govt. of Delhi. AAA has shown the model of multiple uses ofgovernment buildings by running shelters in school, college buildings; communitycentres.According to an estimate of AAA, currently there are about 1.5 Lac homeless people inDelhi. Unfortunately a very small percentage of these homeless people find refuge inthe MCD run night shelters. Therefore, the objective of Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan is toincrease the number of shelters for the homeless people, especially for homelesswomen. It is important to note that till date MCD has not set up a single night shelter forhomeless women in Delhi. This is being achieved through the support of government,NGOs, religious organizations, educational institutions, etc. Further, homeless peopleare being encouraged to support in the shelter management. Winter CampaignEvery year during the winter season, AAA in collaboration with Delhi Govt. makesefforts for the creation of additional shelters. During last winter season (December, 2007– March, 2008), AAA managed 41 shelters accommodating about four to five thousandhomeless people. All the shelters were managed by the trained homeless communityworkers. 5
  • 6. The progress of shelters work from the year 2002 till now is as under: YEAR NUMBER OF SHELTERS 2002-2003 13 2003-2004 23 2004-2005 46 2005-2006 50 2006-2007 54 2007-2008 41 2008-2009 42 2009-2010 35 2010-2011 40Facilitating Collective ActionFacilitative Collective Action aims at the realization of the rights of the homelesspersons of Delhi as guaranteed by the Constitution of India and International Covenantsand Treaties. It strives to achieve the said goal through various ways and means. Itworks to bring together and strengthen the homeless of Delhi in order to enable them tofight for their own rights. It believes in making the homeless persons themselvescapable of demanding their own rights from the government and the civil society insteadof some organization doing the same on their behalf. Mobilization and meetings of thehomeless from different street points, Bal Panchayat – Children’s meetings, MahilaPanchayat- women meetings, Abhyas Mandal- exercise for sharing, learning andplanning, workshops, exposure trips, cultural activities, celebrations of festivals of all the 6
  • 7. faiths and religions and mahapanchayat- large assembly of the homeless are some ofthe activities organized by FCA to achieve its objectives. Opening of zero balancesaving bank accounts with the Union Bank of India, securing voter identity cards andissuance of AAA identity cards for the homeless persons are some of the mostimportant activities organized by FCA towards capacity building of the homelesspersons.Law research and advocacyThe intervention intends to provide legal aid to the homeless people of Delhi and,through the work of providing legal aid, to understand the fallacies of the laws adverselyaffecting the homeless people so that the constitutional validity of such laws can bechallenged in due course of time on the grounds of being violative of the rights of thehomeless people. The understanding developed and the research conducted during thecourse of providing legal aid can also be used to influence future laws and policiesconcerning the homeless people through suitable advocacy. The intervention currentlyfocuses on providing legal aid to the homeless people apprehended under the BombayPrevention of Begging Act, 1959, which criminalizes homelessness in the name ofpreventing begging and rehabilitating beggars.Health OutreachThe activity focuses on enabling homeless to access health care by operating a mobilehealth outreach clinic (on every Monday and Thursday at Jama Masjid, Delhi between7.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. in summer and from 6.00 p.m. to 8.00 in the winter and on everyTuesday at Aarambagh, Delhi from 7.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. in summer and 6.00 p.m. to7.00 p.m. in winter), running street based drug counselling relevant to street life at Jama 7
  • 8. Masjid and Fawwara Chowk (on every Wednesday from 6.00. p.m. to 7.00 p.m. insummer and 5.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. in winter and on every Friday from 6.00 p.m. to 7.00p.m. in summer and 5.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. in winter respectively) and providing healthservices on basis of community health approach at various shelters and street contactpoints. Further, it works for building up a cadre of homeless community health workersand volunteers to reach larger number of homeless.Programme for mentally ill homeless peopleRecently Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan started a programme in collaboration with Institute ofHuman Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) and Delhi Legal Services Authority(DLSA) for the treatment of mentally ill homeless people. Under the programme amobile clinic is organised at Jama Masjid, Delhi with the help of the doctors fromIHBAS. DLSA helps in securing the presence of a Metropolitan Magistrate to passappropriate orders under the Mental Health Act for the said treatment. Aashray AdhikarAbhiyan undertakes the responsibility to bring the possible beneficiaries (mentally illhomeless people) to the clinic from different areas of Delhi for the treatment, to keep arecord of the mentally ill homeless people who come to the clinic so that their presencecan be secured next time as required by the doctors, and to look after other logistics forrunning the clinic.Sensitization:Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan organises various activities for sensitizing the civil society,corporate and the government (executive, legislative and judiciary) towards thehomeless people of Delhi. 8
  • 9. Night OutsNight outs are planned to reach out to homeless people in their different concentrationareas in Delhi at night (on every Tuesday and Friday from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.). Night-outshelp to address medical emergencies, intervene in cases of police atrocities, assisthomeless people in seeking shelter and respond to immediate basic needs such asblankets and/or clothes in winter.School Going ChildrenAashray Adhikar Abhiyan runs a programme for the homeless children. Under theprogramme the children are sent to government schools for regular formal education. Alltheir expenses towards food, cloths, books, school fee, etc. are taken care of byAashray Adhikar Abhiyan.Food for elderly and sick personsAashray Adhikar Abhiyan also runs activities for providing free food to the elderly andsick homeless persons. The activities aim at ensuring that no elderly and sick personsgo to bed hungry.Research & DocumentationAashray Adhikar Abhiyan has been undertaking primary research to find out the needs,aspirations and problems of homeless people using participatory research tools. AAAalso brings out various types of publications for society as well as for homeless peoplelike reports, updates, etc. 9
  • 10. AAA Publications 1. The Capital’s Homeless (A Preliminary Study on the Homeless People of Delhi). 2. BASERE KI KAHANI (A Study of the Problems in the Night Shelters in Delhi Using Participatory Research). 3. Reflections of AAA TeaMembers ... Towards Reclaiming Our Humanness. 4. Health Care Beyond Zero (Ensuring a Basic Right for the Homeless by Health Initiative Group for the Homeless [HIGH]) 5. People Without Nation (A documented outcome of the National Consultation on Urban Poor: Special Focus on Beggary & Vagrancy Laws – The issue of de-custodialization (De-criminalisation) July 15-16 2005. 6. Save the lives Campaign -2010 7. Treatment of homeless with severely mentally ill-2011. 10
  • 11. The AAA Core-Team Paramjeet Kaur Sanjay Kumar Sushil K. Singh Prashant Singh Jabar Singh @ Babloo Pramod Kumar DasS-442, School Block, Shakarpur, Delhi-110092 Phone: 011-22481609Mobiles: 9868122997, 9312668807, 9810711644 E-Mail: Website: 11