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CSR: Colours Uplifting The Lives Of Slum Dwellers

Slums getting colourful in Mumbai

With the population of 2.2 Crores according to the 2011 census, Mumbai is the most populous city in India and the 4th most populous city in the world. The population has more than doubled in the last twenty years and this rapid expansion has led to the city bursting at its seams. More than 40% of the total population of Mumbai lives in it’s slums. The city is home to Dharavi, one of the largest slums in the world.

The slums are located in every part of Mumbai, clearly visible to all the commuters or tourists. When foreign nationals fly to Mumbai to explore the culture and the heritage of the city, the first sight of the city they get to see from the airplane windows is the beeline of shanties around the runway, covered in worn out blue tarpaulins.

Apart from how they look, the conditions that people live in in these slums, are an eyesore for everyone especially for those who are new in the city. These areas are hot bed for infections as they lack basic facilities to maintain any hygiene standards. The population density in slums is very high and the shared toilets are not enough to meet the needs of the local population so open defecation is a normal practice. This leads to an attitude wherein the residents have a lacklustre attitude towards cleanliness.

Chal Rang De is a Non profit organisation that partners with corporates, local councillors and residents to revamp the slum areas by painting the walls with bright colours and vibrant art. Because of this, the locals have begun to view their area with new found respect and that is where the change kicks in. Their first project in Asalpha is a roaring success and has completely changed the scenery of the area. Not only does it look great but it has become a tourist attraction, providing an additional revenue to the locals. The volunteer artists have painted the walls taking inspiration from global culture and art, exposing the local too to gain this exposure.

Inspired by the change they observed in Asalpha, the organisation kicked off their next project in a fishing community in Khardanda. This area which has around 7000 houses is cut off from modern Mumbai. The organisation has not only taken up the task of beautifying the area by painting art and murals on its walls but also providing sustainable waterproofing to about 300 houses for the rainy season.

The locals have appreciated the efforts of the organisation heartily. “The area looked very different before. It was all black and white. Now it is as if a rainbow has descended permanently on our locality,” said a local resident of Khardanda.

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The CSR Journal Team