For six-year-old Savita (name changed) Christmas is just another day spent foraging for anything of value in mounds of garbage that stand nearly six storey’s high. She remains busy scavenging through the day like many others deprived of a life of dignity or security.
The 100-year-old dumping ground spreads over 500 bighas and shanties have mushroomed over 150 bighas. Almost 25 percent of the settlers, including children, are make a living as scavengers for Howrah Municipal Corporation.
The total area of the dumping ground is a little more than 46 acres but only 13 acres of land is actually available for dumping waste due to encroachments by hundreds of families.As a tribute to these bereft children the Community Video Unit of the Hope Foundation has come up with an exclusive photo feature to championing their cause and propell the world to do its bit and transform their lives for the better.
Speaking on the occasion, Jenny Browne, Overseas Director, The Hope Foundation said: “While the rest of the world celebrates Christmas, these children are forced to live a colourless life of everyday struggle. Our little efforts can go a long way to change their situation.” “The purpose of this video is to inspire people to do their bit to change the lives of these children in the true spirit of Christmas,” said Apu Mukherjee, Media Officer, Community Video Unit, The Hope Foundation.
Community Video Units (CVUs), Hope’s Community Video Initiative, establish platforms for communities to dialogue find solutions and empower people to take corrective action on local issues. CVUs are local production entities, created by HOPE in partnership with various NGOs that are run by community members trained in all aspects of video production and distribution.
It is noteworthy to mention that in 2001 environmentalist Subash Datta filed a Public Interest Litigation in the green bench of Calcutta High Court, arguing the sprawling dumping ground had become a cause of great environmental pollution in the area and measures must be taken.
Meanwhile, the INGO celebrated Christmas with hundreds of children living in homes run by the Hope Foundation in a colourful way.Minors of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers, joined various cultural programmes in keeping with the spirit of Christmas.The participants clapped with joy as Santa Claus handed out presents to the young boys and girls.