#UprootedChildhoods – Usha Bisoi

“People in school behave badly with me because I live in a basti (informal settlement). I can’t stop fearing for the safety of our house at all times. What if we get evicted again?” says 17-year-old Usha Bisoi from Shanti Nagar FCI Colony, Bhubaneshwar.

Class X student Usha doesn’t live in a pucca (permanently constructed) house. She doesn’t have access to a toilet at home. “It becomes a problem, especially at night”, she says. “We need a toilet in every house, and the home should be built of strong, durable material. I would like to build my own house on a secure plot of land, with a latrine, a tap, and other facilities available inside”, she says. At school, Usha faces discrimination because she lives in a basti (informal settlement). “People behave badly with me. They think that those in bastis are up to no good. I feel really bad”, she says. Even when she is at school, Usha can’t help worrying about the situation at home. “I worry in case there is an eviction. I am scared of the police”, she concludes.

#UprootedChildhoods is a collaboration between Leher and YUVA (Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action), attempting to spark dialogue on a critical yet oft invisibilised concern—the views of children on housing. The campaign draws from YUVA’s in-depth interventions with children over the years across cities, and Leher’s focus and commitment to child rights, with a preventive approach towards child protection. Through the different blogs, photo essays, video stories, infographics and other formats we hope to present many faces of urban childhoods.

Photo Credits : Yuva

Words By : Yuva

Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA) is a non-profit development organisation that helps vulnerable groups access their rights. YUVA encourages the formation of people’s collectives to engage them in the development discourse. This work is complemented with advocacy and policy recommendations. Set up in Mumbai in 1984, currently YUVA operates in 5 Indian states.


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