Overcoming Social Disadvantage and Inequality through Self-Confidence, Education, Team-Skills Development in Slum Youth-Children Collectives

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal BIG 1 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Kabir AGARWAL, Dept. of Economics, University of Mumbai, India
Kuntal AGARWAL, Urban Health Resource Centre, India
Siddharth AGARWAL, Urban Health Resource Centre, India
Introduction: Slum children/youth are excluded from benefits of India's urbanizing economy and growth. Unequal access to opportunities for education, self-expression hamper their potential growth/development.

Program methods/approach: Children/youth's self-confidence to overcome obstacles, increases through pursuing activities they enjoy, gain knowledge, skills from (Payne, 2008). Social interactions help children and youth to free themselves from difficult situations, focus towards future, acquire  ability to influence it (Vygotsky, 1978). Reasoning with one-self develops thinking skills (Hwang & Nilsson, 2003).

Children/youth groups mentored by slum-women's-groups guide project design and are central to this approach towards contributing to socially just cities and inclusive urbanization (Sustainable Development Goal-11). One boy, one girl leader per group facilitates gender-equity and lays the formative basis towards a more gender-equitable social environment. They identify opportunity gaps, inadequate stimulation/motivation faced, aspirations, ways to strengthen as groups, contribute to progressive evolution of program, and facilitate youth/children groups in neighbouring slums.

Findings: 34 children/youth groups with 450 youth/children members are active in Agra, Indore slums. Child/youth development is fostered through avenues for self-expression, team-work, excelling in performance, reasoning with self and cultivating positive self-image. Communication and leadership skills emerge. Social interaction with elders at neighbourhood level and at larger forums have strengthened confidence. Children/youth groups write petitions and submit to Municipal Corporation to pave slum-lanes, drains, clean garbage. These efforts have improved slum lanes, drains, prevented interruption of children’s school education.

Conclusion, Significance: Increasing number of youth complete school education, complement family income; demonstrate gender sensitivity, engage in socially productive community actions e.g. contributing to improved hygiene and living environment, reducing school-dropout. Self-confidence, social-interaction with peers, elders, persons external to social milieu, collaborative-skills and leadership add value to life/livelihood skills. Computer literacy, expanding reach of internet, will help underprivileged communities access online Government schemes, services, thereby reducing transaction cost of access.