Our New Construction Project!
When we first saw Santhom two months ago, we knew instantly that this would be the site of our new construction project. We wanted to back up our intuition with mapping and interviews of the inhabitants: this was so much fun. We got to know the residents, played with their goats and kittens and talked about their daily lives. Some have the most interesting stories to tell! Santhom colony homes several hundred people in over a hundred shacks, most of which are crudely constructed from sticks, tarpaulin and whatever metal the residents could find. When the monsoon season arrives (which it does all too frequently), the houses leak and the paths flood and the people get sick. Around 70% of people surveyed live below the UN recognised poverty line of $1.25 a day per person, the others barely scrape above it. Its these facts and statistics that led us to put into place an amazing construction project that would change the lives of Santhom residents forever.
Our plans for Santhom have been big. We aim to rebuild almost all of the homes into waterproof, hygienic and safe places to live. We aim to raise the people out of poverty by training them in various vocational areas such a crotchet, metal jewellery making, art and clothes making, the products of which can be sold with all of the profit returning to the people. We aim to build a garden in which the people can grow their own crops to eat. We aim to build an eco-toilet for each house; this will also create compost for the garden. We have presented these ideas to the community and are now working to make the eco toilets and compost heap, the vocational classes have started and we are making a website and local connections to sell the products. Its fun working in a slum; the people are so friendly and each time I’m there I make my way through gallons of sweet sugary tea!
All the households invite us in, sometimes we are busy so don’t have time to see everyone. Our planning has not been easy, we have suffered setbacks but we have come through it all and are looking to start building imminently. Santhom has huge potential, both project wise and the people themselves, I look forward to seeing what we achieve there.
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