East Delhi


Seemapuri is mainly a rural zone in Delhi and people may not be too friendly or inviting to outsiders due to the fact that they are mostly rough in their behaviour and rude by inherent characteristics. Though the locals residing in Delhi may not find their language offending, however, tourists and visitors who are not used to the local language and their style of speaking might find it a little rude and unfriendly. New Seemapuri has the notoriety of being one of the worst slums in Delhi. The reasons could be pollution, filthy surroundings, high incidence of poverty, child labour, unemployment and addiction etc. New Seemapuri is situated at one end of north east Delhi. It has Uttar Pradesh as border on one side and lies adjoining to Dilshad Garden in East Delhi. It is near to Shahadara railway station and bus depot. There is hardly any greenery in its vicinity and lot of dust looms in the sky all the time. The foul odour of rags dumped all over is very strong and the whole sight is very sickening. The New Seemapuri slum saw the light of the day in the year 1970 and a large contingent of people poured in as refugees from Bengal and Bangladesh and gradually, others also joined from states like U.P, Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and so on. Most of them live in small little miserable broken huts. The slum, being unauthorized, has no legal water connection, nor electricity connection. It is basically a heterogeneous community with multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-characteristic features. Most of them earn their bread and butter by picking and sorting of rags. Some are daily wage earners, street vendors, domestic helps, and many other menial jobs which are the main stay of their sustenance. Few of them are also shopkeepers, rickshaw pullers and semi skilled labourers working in the construction sector. The fact remains that many of the families are unable to feed their children with the meagre earnings they make. People in Seemapuri are predominantly Muslims with some isolated pockets of Hindu valmikis and a handful of Sikhs, Jains and Christians. They do earnestly practice their religion and celebrate all festivals in a very colourful manner and with the pomp and gaiety it deserves. The average members per household are about seven, and all are crammed into one room for the night with hardly any ventilation in the room. As regards education is concerned, although there are two primary schools and high schools, many children don’t go to schools at all. Drop out is a common phenomenon, especially among the girls. It is not due to poverty only, but due to lack of encouragement from parents, poor quality of education and a pathetic literacy level of children and parents. They are a vulnerable lot. Even if the government launches education schemes, education will remain a distant dream for thousands of vulnerable children, unless there is a rise in motivational level of parents in the slum. Chetanalaya has been running a library and pre-school for the children and organizing women into self help groups in the past along with periodical interventions for the improvement of community health. Chetanalaya launched an advocacy programme for claiming the basic rights of the rag-picking community. Formation of focus groups and building of their capacity to take up various measures to claim their rights are the main features of this intervention.


Kalyanpuri is located in East Delhi. Near By Villages of Kalyanpuri are Kalyanvas(4 km), Ghazipur (2 km), Patparganj (2.3 km), Nirman Vihar (3.3 km), Shakarpur (3.7 km).There are about 5000 families living in the target area. General living conditions in the area are as dismal as they are in the worst slums in Delhi. The area is characterized by sub-standard housing, squalor, lack of security and development. People are mal-nourished with health, hygiene and educational indicators falling below average. As individuals and community they lack bargaining power to access their rights and benefits. Prevalence of common sicknesses, disability, social evils like alcoholism, drug abuse etc. is a common feature of such living condition. Lack of literacy, lack of skills and unemployment aggravate their condition. Chetanalaya works towards erasing the social problems of this community. Over the years, Chetanalaya is running a Pre-school, Remedial education for children, skill development for youth, facilitated self help groups and initiated many income generation activities for women. Through our initiatives community is empowered towards developing their area.

Shastri Park

Shastri Park is located in the north-east Delhi. North East Delhi borders Yamuna River on the west, Ghaziabad District to the north and east, East Delhi district to the south, and North Delhi district to the west across the Yamuna. Shastri Park lies in the west side of district. Shastri Park is the most backward settlement in terms of education, health care and family income. Almost 70% of this settlement are Muslims whose literacy rate is below the state and the national average. Majority of the women are confined to homes. Almost 90% of men in Shastri Park for their livelihood depend on daily wage labour, rag-picking, rickshaw pulling or any such unskilled job. The women in the Shastri Park are deprived of basic respect and status. They have no say in money or family matters and they are not included in decision making. They are mere housekeepers. They are not permitted to work outside their places. They are subject to domestic violence. Female children are not sent to schools as much as male children are. This makes them incapable of making their careers in life. They suffer from nutrition and vitamin deficiencies. During pregnancy their maternal health is ignored due to which the new born baby might suffer disabilities or impairments. Most of the people of Shastri Park are engaged in unskilled and unorganized Labour. They are mainly involved in painting, carpentering, construction etc. Most of the families are below the poverty line. They have difficulty in feeding their family, sending their children to school, giving their family proper health care etc. The community has bigger families with an average of 6 members in the family. The basic services in Shastri Park are very poor. There is no permanent electricity and immense shortage of food and water. The basic housing structure is very weak. The houses are congested and over populated. There are open drains outside every house. Health and Hygiene is one of the major concerns in the slum. The intervention by Chetanalaya aims at comprehensive community development by transforming the women to be the catalyst for the socio economic development of the community, mainstreaming the youth through skill development programmes, developing the children to access their rights through children parliaments and educational programmes and empowering the community to establish the networks and advocate for their development needs.

Sunder Nagri

Sunder Nagri is located in the eastern part of Delhi in the border of Uttar Pradesh close to a small colony exclusively meant for leprosy rehabilitated people, known as leprosy colony. Living conditions and civic facilities in Sundernagri is more or less same as in other slums and resettlement colonies in Delhi. Sundernagari is divided into ten blocks, out of which four blocks are fully slum settlements. The population of the slums would be approximately 100,000. The people are basically the migrants hailing from rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. It is basically a heterogeneous community with multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual characteristic features. Most of the people are daily wage earners, street vendors, rag-pickers, rickshaw pullers and semi-skilled labourers. Sundernagari slum remains isolated and cut off from the mainstream of the society which has resulted in the high incidence of poverty, ignorance, illiteracy, unemployment and deplorable socio-economic conditions. Health and health-needs of the people are precarious. There are many cases of tuberculosis, especially among rag-pickers, cancer, diabetics, mental retardation, other types of disabilities like visual/hearing/speech impairments and physical disabilities. There are also a few cases of HIV/AIDS. The intensity of the precipitating factors like drug abuse, squalor lanes, accumulation of waste, lack of ventilation, lack of sewage-drainage systems, ignorance about reproductive health, lack of personal hygiene, use of contaminated water, congested living space etc. give credence to the poor health status of the people. Chetanalaya has been associated with the people of Sunder Nagri through various relief and rehabilitation works done in the area. Chetanalaya conducts several conscientization programmes, health camps etc. in the area besides remedial education and skill development courses. Besides, Chetanalaya had embarked on organizing women on a developmental platform which has eventually turned to a movement of Self Help Groups (SHGs). Chetanalaya has a resource centre at Sundernagri for community based rehabilitation of people with disability and the elderly.

Janta Colony

Janata Mazdoor Colony, an unauthorized resettlement colony in the North East district of Delhi, close to the Delhi Ghaziabad high way, has a population of about 125,000 people living in 13 blocks of congested gullies. Adjoining to Janata Mazdoor Colony is Mochi Colony, (Mochi means cobbler), which also has a population of about 100,000 people, living in 12 blocks. Unlike Janata Colony, Mochi colony is an authorized settlement. Mochi Colony dates back to 1960 whereas the first settlements in Janata Colony were around 1977. The migrants from the North Indian states, who came in search of better living conditions, began to settle in both the colonies. Even today, the continuing influx of migrants adds to the population burden of the colony. Both the colonies are in the Seelampur Division of the North East District of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. They are close to Shahdara main market, on the Delhi Ghaziabad Highway. Two unauthorized colonies mark the boundaries of Chetanalaya’s intervention area: Welcome Colony on the East and New Jafrabad on the West. Naveen Shahdara makes the Southern boundary and the Northern border is Subhash Park. The average family consists of 8-10 members. The total geographical area is very limited, and people are compelled to live in single room residential units with no proper hygiene and ventilation. In Janata Colony, most of the male population is daily wageworkers. In Mochi colony, the majority of the people are cobblers, who either work at home for the vendors in the city, or work on the streets. The rest of the population consists of rickshaw pullers, dhobis (laundry) and cloth makers working for the merchants in the city. Generally the women stay at home. The people are not adequately skilled and knowledgeable to get a well-paid job. The men go out for work in the morning and comeback only in the evening. Addiction to smoking and alcohol as well as to drugs is common in the area especially among the male population. In some cases, up to half of the money earned by the people is spent for alcohol. Drug use is also found in the area, along with the presence of commercial sex workers, indicating vulnerability to STDs and HIV AIDS. The educational level of the adult population is very low in both the areas. The children usually enrol in schools, but the dropout rates are very high, especially in the case of girl children. There are two government schools in the area, but the quality of education is very low. Children do not get individual attention, and many higher-grade children, even do not have the basic literacy skills. Eventually the drop out also begin to engage in one of the traditional activities going on here. Both the colonies are connected with roads. There is electricity and water connection in most of the houses, but many of these connections are illegal. Recreational facilities are limited to a few open spaces in the area. The sewage and waste management are in very poor conditions. Lack of hygiene both at the personal level as well as at community level leads to many health problems in the area. The sewage lanes are not covered. The wastes from the houses are often dumped in the narrow passages, and it is in these same passages, do the children play. The colonies are in low laying areas, and even small rains cause flooding in the area. Seasonal outbreak of diseases like dengue, etc. is common in the area. The health care facilities include a government hospital and a few private hospitals. However, the government hospital many a time would not have enough medicines and the private hospitals are very costly.

  • Help Them to Help Themselves
  • Help Them to Help Themselves