Engaging the Community for Protecting their Land and Housing Rights in Savda Ghevra, Delhi

                                                              

Engaging the Community for Protecting their Land and Housing Rights in Savda Ghevra, Delhi

Habitat for Humanity
Solution proposed by: 
CBOS and women’s groups in the area and local NGO partner Madhok Foundation, Delhi. This unique project was a partnership between Habitat for Humanity India (HFH India), the Madhok Foundation and the Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) Chapter of the Conf
In a Nutshell: 
HFH India was constructing houses for 27 families in Savda Ghevra, Delhi each with a disabled member. The land and families was under threat from land mafia. HFH India worked closely with 30 families in ensuring that their rights to land and housing are protected and they build a house.
Where and When: 
27 families, who were previously homeless and destitute and living on the streets of South Delhi were resettled in Savda Ghevrda, Delhi – a human resettlement colony 30 kilometers from the main city. This was in March 2012.
Challenges: 
During the construction phase, the local land developers and builders wanted to grab the land allotted to the beneficiaries. They created many obstacles to prevent the construction and even threatened HFH India and the beneficiaries.
Innovation: 
Dialogue and meetings with opinion makers and meetings with women’s groups at the community level in the urban slum to enable them to protect their land and built their homes with sanitation units. It is when people are aware and know their rights they can stand up for themselves. We enable this process and help families construct a safe and decent place to live.
Concept: 
HFH India worked closely with the beneficiary families and community based organizations (CBOs) through community mobilization processes and participatory meetings to make the community aware of their rights vis a vis land and housing. Some of the community opinion leaders among the beneficiaries were invited to visit the HFH India office to get more confidence in our work and courage to demand their rights. Continuous community level meetings and meetings with women representatives of the community were held. The entire community was made aware of how to protect the land from the private builders.
Description: 
In January 2009 (peak winter), a slum demolition drive by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) demolished the make-shift shanties of a large number of differently abled families living behind Nehru Stadium in South Delhi. These actions were taken on the basis that the land was required for building infrastructure and facilities for the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games. Almost 100 families including those with new born babies, disabled members and old parents were left without shelter and in a helpless state in the bitter winter months with nowhere to go. The Madhok Foundation, a Delhi based NGO took up the cause of the differently abled families. After much lobbying and advocacy the NGO was successful in ensuring that 40 families are allocated small plots of land by the then Lt. Governor of Delhi. However, whilst the families had a small plot of land on which to build a house, they had no money with which to build and no chance of getting a loan from any bank or lending institution. Habitat for Humanity India an organization working to build houses for low income families came in with the necessary funding and support. HFH India secured funds to build houses for these families and the contractor to build the houses. During construction, the local builders and land mafia opposed the construction of houses. They tried to make false promises to beneficiaries to lure them away from their rights and tried to build distrust in them towards HFH India. They even literally stopped construction. HFH India worked with the community and enabled them to stand up for themselves and ensured that the houses were built. The project saw many obstacles but HFH India worked with the community in seeing the construction through to completion.
Impacts: 
The biggest issue to housing in the urban scenario is availability of land and land tenure. Land is scarce for addressing urban poverty housing. The location, Savda Ghevra, is close to the main city and important enough to be a valuable asset. People with vested interests are on the look to manipulate and cheat unaware and illiterate dwellers/ families. However, with HFH India’s support and active role, today more than 27 families have a safe and decent shelter and improved living conditions. Women and children are protected from harsh weather conditions and other threats to life and dignity

Photo Gallery

Mr. David Ingelby, volunteer with HFH India Delhi program implementation office (PIO) managed by HFH India Delhi PIO staff Sophia Joseph and Martin Sah. Project head Justin Jebakumar, HFH India Delhi PIO head.
Mr. David Ingelby, volunteer with HFH India Delhi program implementation office (PIO) managed by HFH India Delhi PIO staff Sophia Joseph and Martin Sah. Project head Justin Jebakumar, HFH India Delhi PIO head.
Mr. David Ingelby, volunteer with HFH India Delhi program implementation office (PIO) managed by HFH India Delhi PIO staff Sophia Joseph and Martin Sah. Project head Justin Jebakumar, HFH India Delhi PIO head.
Mr. David Ingelby, volunteer with HFH India Delhi program implementation office (PIO) managed by HFH India Delhi PIO staff Sophia Joseph and Martin Sah. Project head Justin Jebakumar, HFH India Delhi PIO head.