DIR in India

Chandigarh - June 2006

The Janta Colony Project


In a crowded slum where 8996 people live in 2,047 tiny homes, located just outside Chandigarh, capital of the Punjab, DIR has a project being implemented by the residents.  This "bustee" is called Janta Colony.


To-date, staff have attend daily classes in elementary physiology and anatomy, nutrition, malaria eradication, hygiene, disease spread and health promotion, and have implemented a programme in which:

    a. They have regular meetings to pass on information learned to their individual committees. (Each staff member has a committee of at least ten other residents.);

    b. Each month, every child under the age of five years is weighed.  Typically, many children are found to be grossly underweight although we are seeing some improvements recently.  All children who are 4Kg or more underweight are professionally examined and given treatment. The worst Class, children over 4Kgs underweight, are seen by a physician and treatment given. Parents of all other groups are advised on how to take corrective action, and all chronic cases are professionally followed-up;

    c. Procedures are in place to ensure that all young children have all their childhood disease immunizations and the local government clinic is lending its co-operation.

    d. A start has been made in clearing the land which surrounds the Colony of the trash which residents have thrown there over the past 40 years. In this, the slum residents turn out on a Sunday to collect trash (including many thousands of plastic bags) and bury the debris in holes. Three such Clean-up Sundays have been held thus far;

    e. To encourage no new dumping on the recenly-cleared areas, equipment has been bought and sports activities have been organized for local youth.  In addition, the local government has responded to DIR requests and passed an ordinance prohibiting dumping outside the pits we have had dug;

    f. A roster has been made of all pregnant women, with a view to recognizing high-risk pregnancies as well as nutritional deficiencies which could affect both mother and child;

    g. Information is being collected to help design and create an effective anti-addiction programme.

The local Directorate of The National Cadet Corps has just loaned its considerable weight to DIR‘s activities, has adopted the Colony and is offering vital help in a variety of ways.

DIR is presently seeking support to demolish a derelict government pump house which has been sitting vacant in Janta Colony for over 35 years.  The goal is to build a Model Community Resource Centre where local children can get a top level education, where computer classes will be provided, and which will be a recreational centre after school.  One of DIR's goals there, will be to provide evening recreational activities for youth who presently have no such facilities and are thus at highrisk of falling into delinquency and/or becoming victims of substance abuse and addiction.

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