Friday, March 6, 2009

Poonam Singh: Home visit. March 6, 09

This report from Sangeeta:

Indiahelps shows me Mumbai like no else did. I visited the Mahim slum and now this. I come back full of gratitude for all I have and just humbled by how calmly people carry on in the face of despair.

I took Shai Venkatraman of NDTV and we left with a cameraman, Rajendra in NDTV's vehicle . It took us 2.5 hrs to reach the home from Worli. We stopped the car for the car could not go up any more on that narrow road. After a little while, we started walking, a half km trek uphill through the slum. Poonam and Santosh Singh with their 4 kids stay in a small home uphill.

One of her sons was with her and was hit. He has undergone 4 surgeries and has one more scheduled. He is fine physically, a burnt patch on the thigh and a bump the size of a strawberry on his hand. More important, he has changed - his father said. He has become very difficult to handle.

Poonam needs a walker. But we cannot help her. The climb down to just get to an auto rickshaw is a challenge. We need to help the family to rent one year at the bottom of the slum. Help with the deposit and the rent - difference.

Then and only then this lady can even go anywhere and do any physiotherapy. Only then does she have a chance .

She is only 34 , with 4 kids. Her husband is a decent man. He told me, "I used to just give her the salary and she took care of everything. The kids, dropping them to school, washing clothes, buying provisions. Today between my eldest daughter and I we manage." The eldest daughter has lost two months of school. Her mother came home on 6th Feb 2009 from JJ.

She has to get water, and wash clothes and look after a lot of the work the mother did. She looks hardened.

I asked another old lady that lived nearby how did Poonam go to the toilet - for such places the toilet will be a trek to. - she said she cant go anywhere ...she has to do everything at home.

Yet in the face of such aadversity that family was stoic. Not happy but not crying and saying "Why did this happen to us?"

They have got some money for two people were injured at CST.

I have asked the husband to find a place lower and that we will help with difference in deposit and rent for a year only. Then I can work on her rehab.

I reached back home Mahim at 8.30 p.m. Shai will go again on this Thursday as the light was just not enough to shoot and there was no source to hook up for more electricity.

Action Point - Keep in touch with the husband. Get them to move down and then start helping her.

If anyone would like to help this family please do contact us at

Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

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