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URGENT: How Mumbai Treats Good People

URGENT: How Mumbai Treats Good People

 

Written by Trina Talukdar, a community activist in Mumbai, India who is running an NGO where she houses and educates marginalized women

“Mumbai is a cruel city,” you’ll always hear them saying that. And perhaps the famous quote from the not-so-famous recent comedy flick, “The Hangover II” applies to Mumbai more than Bangkok– “Mumbai has her now.”

I am going to be evicted from my apartment in a month and I have no place to go. Mumbai does not rent out to single men or women, especially not a single woman running an NGO where she houses and educates marginalized women. “Only to be rented to families,” apartment owner after owner tells me. Sometimes I get hopeful, when, after much explaining to them of the good cause and pleading they say they will consider or consult. But then I don’t hear back from them for days, and I know.  From Bandra to Borivali… same story.

I cannot afford to buy an apartment or a house or land in Mumbai to circumvent the owners who do not want to rent, because I cannot afford the most expensive real estate in the world. And I can’t get a loan because I don’t have a corporate job to show for. Oh wait… I can get something on top of a hill in Mahabaleshwar or an island in the Arabian Sea… I can afford that. But there are no schools or hospitals or transportation systems there, I exclaim! “Arey, Madam. You are feeding and keeping them alive. That’s enough. What do you want to send them to school for?” the broker asks. There was also a gentleman, much renowned in the social sector, who once told me, “Why don’t you keep them in an old factory or garage?”

On the 10th of August, I have to leave my current apartment. And I will be on the streets with 8 young girls.

Sumaiya started counting in December and was doing long division in May. She started learning the alphabets in January and was reading Enid Blyton in June. Pinky was reading Dr. Seuss in January and is reading C. S. Lewis in June. Yet, my girls can’t get admitted into any school in this city, because they don’t have a birth certificate or a school leaving certificate from their previous school. But more importantly, because they don’t have DINK parents working in the IT sector and fair skin. I have spoken to 12 schools, no 13, I forget, there are so many, they mesh in my head like a giant brick and mortar monster, and they all deny my girls education.

The Mantralay hands me a sheet of 23 documents I have to submit to be able to get government support. Amongst them is proof of functioning for 3 years. But how will I function for 3 years without their support, to be able to apply for their support 3 years later?

I am alone, and Mumbai has me now.

Update: The situation has gotten worse. We got an eviction notice yesterday and we are supposed to vacate our current apartment in 7 days (5 days now). Reason? A girl in the building next door jumped off the 18th floor and committed suicide. So our building people are saying, “If one of our girls jumps off who will take responsibility?” It’s ridiculous! Out of all the people living in our building, they think only the single girls are at danger of committing suicide, and hand us an eviction notice.

How can you help?

1) Make a Donation to help pay for a new shelter via this link to Global Giving:  http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-india-s-trafficked-girls-through-education/

2) Comment on this page with specific people or organizations in Mumbai that may be able to help locate a new house or apartment.  We’ll make sure this info gets to Trina.

If you or anyone you know are in Mumbai, Trina is looking for:

1. 3 or 4 Bedroom apartment or independent house

2. Preferably long the Western Railway track (because the girls’ school and classes are on this track)

3. Budget: Rs. 25-30 thousand.

This post was originally published on Changents.com.

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Photo used with permission from Changents.com

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28 comments

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5:48PM PDT on Jul 4, 2011

Donations to Trina and her non-profit Kranti that helps trafficked girls are easy to make on her Global Giving page. She is fighting on to find a place in Mumbai for the young women she is sheltering to live.

Here is latest update Trina posted on her story on Changents :

Another disappointing day: saw a few more apartments where the owners agreed to house us first, we were even ready with the money to make the down payment and they changed their mind at the last minute. Same old story...they want a family staying in their apartment. When I came home and told the girls this, 10 year old Rani said, "But we are a family." If only I could convince those flat owners of that.

7:37AM PDT on Jul 4, 2011

terrible....hope they find a way.

3:56PM PDT on Jul 3, 2011

So sad that no-one can help her.

9:53AM PDT on Jul 3, 2011

Very sad.

6:39PM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

Financial contributions to help Trina and the trafficked girls she is helping to find a new home in Mumbai can be made on Global Giving here:

http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/empower-india-s-trafficked-girls-through-education/

11:18AM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

We need to examine the indigenous cultures and matriarchal societies. Respecting the life givers and honoring all genders spirituality, the in-betweens, every individual is the only viable way for human beings to live. How did we get so off-base? To allow an acceleration of the lesser-evolved to dominate those who have a natural proclivity towards honoring and maintaining life is the reverse of what we entered into human bodies to accomplish. Mothers love all of their children, and to respect this love is to prevent the dishonoring of every one born into this world. Allowing base urges to overwhelm women and children is to defile the spiritual quality in us all, something we can not afford to do, as we are teetering on the edge.

10:44AM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

Such a heartbreaking story and I know Trina is definitely not alone since India and Mumbai especially (and all the bigger cities really), have a long way to go in terms of human rights in general but women's and children's rights in particular. I wish her and her girls the best! Hopefully somebody somewhere can help somehow.

10:02AM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

heartbreaking

8:44AM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

One dollar each, we are millons here. I will pay one dollar if someone make a "petition" and this will certainly be enough to buy the hose for Tina. Let's start? it is only plastic bottle of water we are going to lost and give Tina a stead place for her activity.

8:33AM PDT on Jul 2, 2011

Best of luck Trina. I've posted your article on my facebook page and know many others have done the same. Your efforts deserve to bear fruit.

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