Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Jamadi Thani / Rajab 1425 H July 2004
Volume 17-07 No : 211
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Community Initiative


Madanpura-A Success Story
Kids Adopt Trees

Madanpura-A Success Story

Through his sheer hard work, Rehan Ansari, a social worker has brought about path-breaking changes in the inhuman living conditions in Madanpura!

By M. Hanif Lakdawala

It is not easy to launch a cleanliness drive in an area surrounded by people who are adamant and are reluctant for a change. This is what you will find when you enter Madanpura, a place in South Mumbai, which is by and large a Muslim dominated area.

People here, mostly uneducated, over the years have been living a sub-standard life. It is a society of people who are ignorant to the world and unaware about hygiene and sanitation.

Madanpura is famous for all the wrong reasons and notorious for the typical way of life. Many organisations here started the social reforms and civic drive. But most of them failed to bring in any changes in the attitude. Anyone entering Madanpura would find himself in a dustbin. A place where garbage is found in abundance all over the roads, by-lanes, streets and even the corridors of the buildings.

They are not to be blamed entirely for living such a life. Over the years, there has been hardly any activity by the civic body to educate these people. People here have been, mostly children, suffering throughout the year by diseases and epidemics like malaria, jaundice, viral fever and cholera.

But change is inevitable. Someone just needs to try for it. It is the sheer hard work of Rehan Ansari, a social worker and a resident of Madanpura who felt the need for a change in the inhuman living conditions, which is one of the necessary things for the social upliftment of the people. He along with other local people formed a committee and met S. S. Shinde, Deputy Municipal Commissioner (DMC) of BMC, zone-One. Inspired by his enthusiasm to change the outlook of South Mumbai, Muslim dominated areas of Kamathipura, Khetwadi and Kumbhawada, the committee adopted the Ghela Bhai street, a cross section of Madanpura area for social service task- a not so easy one in the area which was used to living in disgust.

As instructed by the DMC, the young and energetic youth of the area led by Rehan did a survey and they found that the people wanted the change, but were unaware and clueless how to implement it. The report also stated that the disposing of the garbage was the main problem. With no alternative, the garbage collected in the house was thrown in the passage between the two buildings. As a result, there was a high increase in the number of rodents and pests in the area. The water pipes, which reach every house through these passages, were also affected and the people received contaminated water throughout the year leading to diseases.

These youth, full of conviction and determined for their cause, relentlessly started campaigning in their area educating the unaware people about hygiene and sanitation by carrying out local meetings, door-to-door campaigns and distributing pamphlets in Urdu.

The Imams during their weekly sermons and otherwise asked the people to co-operate by quoting, the importance about sanitation, from religious books. The school children were called in for extra lectures for health education. The group distributed 700 dust-bins to every household of the area. “We got considerable support from the local councillor and president of Prabhag Samiti, Ayub Ansari. He constructed the streets and helped in installing the garbage collection boxes at regular intervals in the area, also provided 38 dustbins i.e. one for every building,” said Rehan.

Looking at the efforts put in by these youth, BMC increased its labour force in the area. Rehan revealed; “now the main problem of garbage disposal is now neatly handled by BMC’s garbage collection van. The officials of pest control department who were not seen in ages, now frequent visitors of the area, have been of great help by providing traps and spraying pesticides to get rid of rats and pests like mosquitoes”.

Rehan added, “ we like to bring greenery in the area and are trying to do so with the help of BMC and other consultants. In future, we like to adopt the bigger area and also like to work on health and education.”

The group is in a process of making short films about sanitation with Islamic teachings that will be shown through cable network and are also trying to get the help of the N.S.S Cadres. “I also anticipate support from the local people to form Advance Locality Management in the area,” said Rehan

Bringing and accepting change may be tough but it is not an impossible task. This place is in a process of change and though there has not been a revolutionary change, but the flame of hope and a wish that one day the people will live a decent and healthy life can be seen burning bright and high throughout the Ghela Bhai street.

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Kids Adopt Trees

By P. A.Muhammed

Ernakulam: The Cochin Public School run by the International Education Trust launched the ‘Adopting a Tree’ Programme for school kids, as a mark of environmental protection. It was inaugurated by noted environmentalist, Prof. M.K.Prasad by planting a sapling in the school premises. The programme was launched by the Trust in collaboration with the New Indian Express, The Cochin Refineries Ltd and an NGO, ‘Friends of Tree,’ according to A.M.Aboobacker, secretary of the Trust. The students of Standard I planted 50 saplings in the campus and each class adopted one sapling. These children will take care of the trees till they pass out of the school. The focus of the programme was to help the kids be in touch with nature and also be aware of the importance of the environment.

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