Shrusha is a resident of Sanjay Nagar in Mumbai’s M East Ward. Up until last year, she would trudge her way at 12 noon to the common tap at Baiganwadi where hundreds of other people also flocked to get water for their daily needs. But water at this tap did not come for free! Shrusha and her family had to cough up Rs.5 per 30 litres and upto Rs. 60 for 200 litres (approximately – Rs. 800 per month)
According to Apnalaya’s Situation Analysis Report 2017, Life on the Margin: Charting Realities, 68% of people living in Shivaji Nagar, M East Ward, are forced to buy water from private tankers – using 12% of their daily income in the process. This means, for the entire population of Shivaji Nagar, Rs. 88 crores is being spent every year just to buy water. That too, in an area where the average monthly family income is Rs.7802.
Access to clean potable water is a human right. Without this basic civic entitlement, the daily struggle for survival becomes far more difficult. The continuous drain on the overstretched family income doesn’t let them break out from the vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty.
To enable people emerge from this vicious cycle, Apnalaya trains the residents to work with the government and advocate for civic amenities such as legal water connections.
Till date we have trained 517 grassroots leaders from 12 slum clusters in Shivaji Nagar between the ages of 18 to 55 years. These grassroots leaders work very closely with the state and urban local bodies to address issues impacting their civic life.
In 2018-19, in the 12 clusters of Shivaji Nagar that Apnalaya works in, more than 11,000 individuals got legal water connections through the work of grassroots leaders.
“We have been getting clean and safe water for a year and a half now and this would not have happened without the help of Apnalaya. There are middle-men in the community who try to swindle us and demand money to install water lines, but the grassroots leaders trained by Apnalaya have helped us submit the legal applications and ensured water connections. Now we tell others in the community to seek help from Apnalaya and the grassroots leaders,” said Razia Mulla, a resident of Rafi Nagar.