Today the AALP Class 14 members stepped outside their comfort zone and visited the Bawana colony (slum) in north west Delhi. We started the day by meeting with the Delhi division of Habitat for Humanity and learned that 40% of Delhi residents live at, or below, the poverty level. Habitat for Humanity has been present in India for the last 30 years and has helped 48,000 families during that time.
Sofia Joseph and David Ingleby led the class through the narrow street of the colony pointing out several of the Habitat for Humanities builds. This was a very eye opening experience for everyone in the class and to see this level of poverty. The sanitation levels were extreme and intensified by the shear sense of the number of occupants. It is hard for us to describe what we saw today; there were children being bathed in the street, open ditches with waste water everywhere, laundry hanging criss-crossed everywhere you looked. But even amongst all of this poverty, the children of the community welcomed our group with open arms and treated us like royalty.
After our tour, we had the opportunity to meet the leaders of several women’s self help groups. The focus of these groups is to teach the women about financial management and empowerment. It was awesome to see such confidence in their personalities.
We finished off our day by having dinner and networking with Class 42 of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation who were also participating in their international tour through India.
Leanne Cheesmond, Graham Hoogterp, Marian Sterk – AALP Class 14 bloggers