Greatly moved by the plight of the poor people living in the slums and the failure of the measures taken towards their upliftment, RRF founder Robin Raina took matters into his own hands and in October 2007 laid out a $20 million ambitious plan to build 6000 homes for the slum dwellers of Delhi. Raina believes, “to make any dream a reality requires a carefully crafted plan and commitment to achieve it” and is putting in every possible effort to make Slum Housing Project a huge success. With more than 2304 homes already having been built, RRF is determined to change the lives of thousands in need.
In this cover story, Robin examines the state of slum dwellers in Delhi and presents an impassioned appeal for the need to help RRF in this cause.
My journey with destiny started sometime back on a rather hot day in the month of June in 2003. I was in India for one of my business trip. It is still fresh in my mind when I leisurely walked up to the 5th floor of our office building at Noida in India. As I stood on the roof of the building and looked at the panoramic view around, I noticed the sprawling slums of Noida. All of a sudden, the squalid slums, choked drains, stench, dirt and abject poverty came in front of my eyes. That gruesome sight shook me to the core.
I wanted to change the course of my life and do something for the betterment of the people living in those slums. By the time, I walked down the stairs of the building; the seeds of a dream had been sown in my mind and led to the conception of the Robin Raina Foundation.
In 2004, when the Supreme Court ordered the immediate demolishment of Delhi’s largest and oldest slum Yamuna Pushta, located on three-kilometer stretch along the Yamuna River. Around 40,000 homes were demolished, without any rehabilitation plan and the past, present, future of 1,50,000 people were bulldozed to the ground. Many of families were shoved 40 kilometers away from the main city onto a barren piece of land in Bawana, where there was no electricity, no medical facility, no proper sanitation and pathetic water supply.
As the slum dwellers moved from Yamuna Pushta to Bawana, RRF decided to move with these slum dwellers to Bawana and set up a base in that area. RRF stood by them through good and bad times and provided all the basic amenities to the slum dwellers.
In 2005, when the Delhi Government allotted plots to these families, RRF took the wise decision to build free homes for these slum dwellers on those government allotted plots. And in September 2007 we embarked on the dream to build 6000 homes!
So far around 2304 homes have been constructed in which around 3000 families are residing happily. At present, the construction is going on for another 233 houses which would be completed by January 2017. Each home is built on a solid brick foundation of 4 feet, has two rooms, four power points and is furnished with two fans and an exhaust fan. All these homes are aesthetically pleasing, having been painted in two colors – blue and light brown alternately, to give individuality to each home. Every home carries a nice granite name plate on the outside wall with clearly written name and address of the owner. Having a name plate is a big deal to the slum dwellers as till now they did not have a proper address. Each of these homes today has a legal electricity connection and 24-hour water supply.
Today, I look back and feel proud about taking this logical decision of constructing free homes for these people who were left to the mercy of cruel streets.
However, we are not done yet and this Slum Housing Project is likely to continue for the next few years. We need your help and support to make it happen. So come forward and contribute as your caring contribution will have an immediate impact! A donation of $3000 from your income can impart a home to a slum dweller and his/her family (on an average 7 people). Isn’t it our duty to support our society or our country in its march to provide basic necessities to its people?
“You will find, as you look back on your life, that the moments that stand out are the moments when you have done things for others.” So donate generously to make this world a better place for our fellow brothers and sisters and be the change you wish to see in the world!
The foundation is committed to the building of these homes and towards that I am setting the ball rolling by making a personal contribution of $2 million towards this noble cause. I look for your support and guidance towards making this dream of 6000 homes a reality- Robin Raina