The recent demolition of the Lohar basti is a harbinger of days to come. We have, over the past five years, witnessed many a demolition drive of this very basti. Bulldozers came, tenements were brought down, but each time they were rebuilt as money changed hands and eyes turned away. But this time was to be the right one as no one was allowed to rebuild their destroyed homes and in spite of the fact that the families doggedly remained in situ for two days, braving rain and sun, they ultimately realised the inevitable fact that after thirty years they were once again homeless.
Demolitions and sealing drives have become commonplace as one has seen over the years and each til date end in some sort of reprieve or the other. However the raising of the Lohar basti proves that the writing is an the all and that sooner or later many of the slums we work in will face the bulldozer.
With the raising of the Lohar basti we have lost one primary centre and we too feel somewhat orphaned though we knew this day would dawn and I had tried to prepare ourselves for it, albeit unconvincingly. But life has to go on and we need to remember that there many children who still need us.
So once again we had to make a course correction and as luck would have we were still on the lookout for a place for our women's home. So instead of finding a place to house a creche and activities for women, we have decided to also include a primary outreach. We have been able to find a place in Madanpur Khader, a village in South Delhi near a slum resettlement colony and will be opening a new centre there very soon.
So a new journey begins and with it new challenges. But we will miss our Lohar children and their free spirit.
Labels: women centre