Delhi’s slum children portray the city through photographs

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Children living in the slums in Delhi are showing what it is to live in the city through a series of photographs which they have clicked.

‘My City Through My Eyes’ is part of Habitat Photosphere, the year-long photography festival initiated by India Habitat Centre (IHC) in collaboration with Save the Children and is being displayed at the Mandi House Metro Station till 30 September.

Launched along with Save the Children’s new global campaign ‘Every Last Child’, the exhibition captures the city as seen by children from the slums of Jahangirpuri, Sriniwaspuri and Madanpur Khadar (North and South East Delhi).

It showcases some of the critical urban challenges, such as lack of clean drinking water, risks emerging from industrial waste for resettlement colonies, status of education and health and lack of safe playspaces for children.

“The key theme of Photosphere festival is sustainable development and this exhibition ties in beautifully with it,” says Alka Pande, artistic director and curator of Habitat Photosphere.

“This exhibition highlights that the environmental hazard affect everyone, however the most vulnerable are those children and families who are living on the streets and unauthorised slums,” she says.

“Forums such as this exhibition highlight the creative ability of portraying reality as seen from the eyes of the children,” says Avinash Kr Singh, Senior Manager, Delhi State
Programmes, Save the Children.

‘Long and Lonely Walk’ is a photograph taken by children from Madanpur Khadar JJ colony and portrays a child walking on a pipe, leading to a pushta, an embankment of industrial waste from a thermal plant in South-East Delhi.

‘Behind The Smoke’ has been clicked by a child photographer from Sriniwaspuri slum, who takes a photo of the smoke that surrounds the area.

According to WHO, Delhi is the most polluted city in the world, reeling under severe particulate pollution and air toxins. The growing air pollution adds to the maternal and
child health challenges for the most vulnerable.

‘Delhi The City of Dreams’ portrays a boy standing in front of a moving train, representing the fact that the city continues to attract migration.

This often acts as a barrier for continuous education for many children from migrant families.

‘Salaam Dilli!’ is a photograph of a child in front of a pile of garbage, taken by children from Sriniwaspuri slum to highlight the need for a better waste disposal system.

In urban India, no state has 100 per cent households equipped with a garbage collection system that can ensure, waste is collected and dumped away from residential areas.

‘Girl with a Lamb’ has been clicked by children in a slum cluster in South Delhi showing a stark contrast of the girl’s reality and what exists beyond her. It is estimated that 24
per cent girls drop out of school from the marginalised groups every year for reasons related to the lack of basic sanitation.

‘Badli Neher’ is about the river stream which is a common recreational spot for the children living in the nearby slums of Jahangirpuri and Badli in North Delhi.

Through this photo, child photographers from Jahangirpuri attempt to show the dangers of having an unclean water body that is open on all sides near their residence.

‘Dangerous Colours’ shows a worker of a small departmental store, resting after a laborious day of painting the shop in Jahangirpuri in North Delhi.

According to the census 2011, there are 55.5 million marginal workers in India. Most of them work in unsafe and hazardous conditions.

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