It is almost twenty five years, people started settling in Sundernagari. The first settlers vividly recall what was there in the colony at that time: “Plain and dry land with a few hundreds of ‘kachha’ houses. No roads, no schools, no dispensary or anything that you see today. People did not have proper jobs. There was nothing to eat. There were even some cases people sold their little bit of property at throw away prices to feed the families”. Definitely a process of transformation has taken place in the last 25 years in the colony but it seems to be thoroughly inadequate and has come to stagnancy
Sundernagri is located in the eastern part of Delhi in the border of Uttar Pradesh close to a small colony exclusively meant for leprosy rehabilitated people, known as leprosy colony. Living conditions and civic facilities in Sundernagri is more or less same as in other slums and resettlement colonies in Delhi. Sundernagari is divided into ten blocks, out of which four blocks are fully slum settlements. The population of the slums would be approximately 100,000. The people are basically the migrants hailing from rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. It is basically a heterogeneous community with multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual characteristic features. Most of the people are daily wage earners, street vendors, rag-pickers, rickshaw pullers and semi-skilled labourers. Almost 30 of the children between the age of 5 and 14 are not attending schools and are engaged in rag-picking and other menial jobs in spite of having five primary schools in the area.
Sundernagari slum remains isolated and cut off from the mainstream of society which has resulted in the high incidence of poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, unemployment and deplorable socio-economic conditions. Health and health-needs of the people are precarious. There are many cases of tuberculosis, especially among rag-pickers, cancer, diabetics, mental retardation, other types of disabilities like visual/hearing/speech impairments and physical disabilities. There are also a few cases of HIV/AIDS. The intensity of the precipitating factors like drug abuse, squalor lanes, accumulation of waste, lack of ventilation, lack of sewage-drainage systems, ignorance about reproductive health, lack of personal hygiene, use of contaminated water, congested living space etc. give credence to the poor health status of the people
Chetanalaya has been associated with the people of Sundernagari through various relief and rehabilitation works done in the area. Last year Chetanalaya had conducted several conscientization programmes, health camps etc. in the area besides running half a dozen of non-formal education centres and a couple of skill development courses. Chetanalaya has its own office space and building in this slum area. Besides, Chetanalaya had embarked on organizing women on a developmental platform which has eventually turned to a movement of Self Help Groups (SHGs). Currently there are about 80 women’s SHGs, successfully animated by Chetanalaya in the proposed project area.
Chetanalaya has a resource centre at Sundernagri for community based rehabilitation of people with disability. About six hundred people with various types of disabilities are covered under the CBR programme.
HIGHLIGHTS AS ON 31ST MARCH 2013
- 30 children in non formal education centres
- Special class for 27 disabled children
- 66 children are members of children’s parliament
- 270 were admitted in the formal schools
- 679 persons with disability under community based rehabilitation programme
- 104 disabled persons were provided with aids and appliances
- 92 SHGs with 1159 members