A Day In The Life: In An Indian Slum

September 14, 2015

My day in the life posts are one of my favourite types of posts to write and to read on other people’s blogs. Curiosity is such a huge part of human nature, especially about how the other lives. Today I wanted to offer you something different. A real view into a day in the life of someone whose life is so different to mine, and I suspect to yours. With the help of World Vision Australia I’m so honoured to share with you a day in the life of eight year old Prachi, who lives in a slum in Delhi, India.

On climbing two floors up, entering a one bedroom home, eight year old Prachi is getting ready for school. She is humming to a tune. On asking about it, she replies smiling, “It is one of the tunes I learnt from life school for transformational development (LSTD) this year. I love singing and dancing to them.” Prachi gets up around 7 am. After breakfast her mother, Manju, 35, walks her to the school which starts at 8 am. “There are 25 students in my grade and we have one teacher for the primary level,” says Prachi, studying in third grade. English is her favourite subject.

7am Prachi wakes up, gets ready for school in her family’s one-bedroom home, after breakfast her mother Manju walks her to school.

8am School begins. Prachi is in the third grade, there are 25 students in her grade with one teacher for the primary level. Her favourite subject is English.

On climbing two floors up, entering a one bedroom home, eight year old Prachi is getting ready for school. She is humming to a tune. On asking about it, she replies smiling, “It is one of the tunes I learnt from life school for transformational development (LSTD) this year. I love singing and dancing to them.” Prachi gets up around 7 am. After breakfast her mother, Manju, 35, walks her to the school which starts at 8 am. “There are 25 students in my grade and we have one teacher for the primary level,” says Prachi, studying in third grade. English is her favourite subject.

1pm Prachi returns home from school, washes her hands and gets ready for lunch, “I learned about hand washing with soap and its role in preventing waterborne diseases at LSTD” she explains. After lunch she sits at her favourite spot, the wide open and brightly sun-lit terrace and finishes her homework.

After lunch, Prachi runs straight to the terrace and finishes her homework. The terrace is her favourite place due to the wide open space and bright sunlight. “She is very diligent in completing any work she gets from school and will not play or watch TV until it is done” says Prachi’s mother, Manju.

2pm-4pm (six days a week) Prachi attends classes conducted by World Vision India. Prachi is a regular for the remedial classes, the Life School for Transformational Development (LSTD) classes and the Right to Education workshops.

After the classes Prachi returns home and spends the remainder of the afternoon playing at home. Her favourite game is carom board. Many children are confined to playing in their homes, “one of the major needs for children in the community is a safe place to play as there is no playground or park nearby” explains Manju. There is a general fear among parents and children of the unsavoury influences outside the home. With the help of World Vision India, women in the community have become motivated to come out of their homes, attend self-help group meetings and actively participate in decision making.

Even Prachi’s older sister  Pooja who is in the 11th grade echoes the sentiments shared by her mother, “I used to be scared of walking in our neighbourhood streets due to the local goons but through the self-defense course [karate] organised by World Vision India in collaboration with the Delhi Police; I am very confident in protecting myself and the police have set up special support for women in the police-stations. If I see any suspicious people, I dial 100 (police helpline) or 1098 (child helpline).” Pooja wants to become a policewoman. Prachi has also expressed interested in learning self-defence but unlike her sister, she wants to become a doctor and help patients from poor neighbourhoods.

Prachi with her certificate from life school for transformational development (LSTD) this year. She loves singing and dancing to the songs she learnt from LSTD. To add on, Prachi says “I learned about hand washing with soap and its role in preventing water borne diseases at LSTD.”

6pm Prachi gets comfortable in front of the TV watching Cartoon Network

8pm The family have dinner

9pm Prachi is off to bed

As I put this post together I couldn’t help but think how lucky Prachi is (does that seem horrible to you? Let me explain). Her day seemed no different to school-attending children in many of the Pacific countries I’ve had experience in. But then I remember she lives in a slum. While I’ve had no experience in Indian slums I have worked in slums in Fiji and there are very few similarities between Prachi’s day and the day of the slum-dwelling children in Fiji that I’ve worked with. The difference is actually quite stark. The reasons for the differences I think go back to the presence of organisations like World Vision in these communities. The work they do and the support they provide especially in relation to education, safety and empowering women actually transform communities and allow children like Prachi to have these experiences.

If you’re curious and would like you find out more, I encourage you to have a look at the World Vision website, there’s a wealth of information about their programs and issues facing children like Prachi on there. There are a multitude of ways you can get involved, either as an individual or with a community via financial assistance or otherwise. Every level of engagement and involvement makes a difference.

6 comments

  • Onoria Vakaloloma

    It gives me hope to see that there are organization as such that creates an avenue and paving a way for women and girls from slum dwelling communities a sense of security and opportunities. Thank you Mrs. Vakaoti for your work and informing the world of such wonderful and inspiring, motivational real-life stories. Many blessing!!! To this brave little girl and her family you make all women proud. Wishing you all the best that life has to offer, and I hope that one day you make it out there and proudly stand for all women in your community and the world in whatever way you can Ms. Prachi!!

    • Vanisha

      Hi Onoria, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I spent part of my fieldwork working with children and young people in squatter areas in Suva and what really struck me was the lack of sustainable and structured programs to help these people.

  • Nadeena

    This post helped educate me so much! I’m so happy to hear about the self-defense classes that are available to them and the additional educating that World Vision does. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Vanisha

      Thanks Nadeena. I’m so honoured to have joined their team as a blog ambassador. There is so much more to what they do and I love that I can share glimpses of it with my audience x

  • Kristian

    I really liked this post- eye opening but lovely to read. It wll be exciting to see what more you have in store for this new series too.

    • Vanisha

      Hi Kristian, It’s been such an honour to join the World Vision Australia team in this capacity. I’m working on new material to showcase their work and the issues they work with x

Leave a Comment



All rights reserved © A Life Un-Styled · Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie