Global Slums

Unveiling the Challenges in the Slums of South Asia

A study presented by Anirudh Krishna, M. S. Sriram, and Purnima Prakash in “Slum types and adaptation strategies: identifying policy-relevant differences” sheds light on the realities faced by impoverished communities in South Asia, the challenges slum dwellers face everyday.[1] This research highlights the living conditions, challenges, and adaptation strategies of these communities.

A Glimpse into the Daily Lives of Impoverished Communities

Within the humble dwellings of these communities, possessions are scarce. Shabby clothes are stored on wooden planks balanced atop brick or earthen supports. Families own three or four battered aluminum cooking vessels, relying on an open, wood-burning fireplace for cooking. A cheap mobile phone serves as a lifeline to connect with their families, and one or two plastic containers store their precious water.

The Struggles of Unconnected Settlements

These settlements face numerous challenges due to their lack of connection to city services and limited livelihood opportunities. None of the studied settlements have access to electricity, and residents rely on mobile tankers or distant public water points to obtain water. After sunset, darkness engulfs the narrow, muddy, and unpaved alleyways, making navigation difficult. Additionally, the presence of stray dogs poses a constant threat.

Garbage Removal, Security, and Limited Connectivity

Impoverished communities lack essential services such as garbage removal and security. Public bus stops are located within a kilometer of only two settlements, leaving others with distances exceeding three kilometers. Health clinics, both government and private, are four kilometers away on average. Unfortunately, there are no signs of ongoing government, NGO, or other external support in these neighborhoods.

Limited Opportunities for Young Minds

The education scenario in these communities is grim, with more than three-quarters (77 percent) of household members aged 14 years or older having never attended school. Numerous young individuals of school-going age are deprived of an education. Lack of access to schools, coupled with limited resources, exacerbates the challenge.

Coping in the Absence of Organized Assistance

People in these impoverished communities largely rely on immediate family or neighbors for support. Calling upon employers, community leaders, government officials, or organized forces for assistance in daily or emergency situations is a privilege reserved for a small percentage.

Impediments to Recognition and Inclusion

The absence of official identity papers further marginalizes these communities. The documents they possess are related to their residence in their native villages. Only a small proportion are registered in any way. Lack of recognition and registration hinders access to social services, benefits, and educational opportunities, trapping them in a cycle of poverty.

The Struggle for Occupational Mobility

Cut off from social assistance, information, and influence, residents of impoverished communities endure meager living conditions. Surviving day to day becomes a challenge, as progress from year to year remains elusive. The lack of inter-generational occupational mobility further perpetuates their economic hardships.

Addressing the Needs of Impoverished Communities for a Better Future

To build a brighter future, it is crucial to address the challenges faced by impoverished communities in South Asia. Providing access to basic services, education, and opportunities for economic growth can empower these communities and break the cycle of poverty. Efforts from governments, NGOs, and society at large are needed

GFA World’s slum ministry reaches out to the marginalized communities in four major cities across South Asia. Our dedicated missionaries live among them, demonstrating Christ’s sacrificial love and sharing His message of hope. Through free medical clinics, hygiene education, and literacy programs, they empower individuals to overcome the challenges of poverty. Local fellowships provide a supportive environment for spiritual growth and community development. Training future missionaries equips them to effectively serve in the unique context of slum ministry. Join us in bringing light, transformation, and the love of Christ to those living in the shadows.

Learn more about global slums

[1] Krishna, Anirudh, M S Sriram, and Purnima Prakash. 2014. “Slum Types and Adaptation Strategies: Identifying Policy-Relevant Differences in Bangalore.” Environment and Urbanization 26 (2): 568–85.