Rajrishi Ramaswamy, Second Year B.B.A LLB student (five year law), Symbiosis Law School Hyderabad.
Name and Address of Organization:
Centre for Action Research and People’s Development (CARPED), 8-3-228/267/A, Kranthi Damam, Rahmath Nagar, Yousufguda, Hyderabad, Telangana 500045.
Duration of Internship
One month, 11th November 2019- 11th December 2019.
The NGO was in contact with my college, through whose Training and Placement Cell I was was able to take part in the internship.
Major Roles and Responsibilities
Since CARPED is an NGO dealing with slum development, I mostly had to do field work whereby I, along with a team of interns had to visit slums across Hyderabad and Secunderabad. We had to interact with the residents of the slums and get to know their issues and what are their day-to-day activities, profession, demographics, income and other such details. The team of interns were guided by members of the NGO who knew evert slum in and out and helped by giving a lot more insights of life in a slum.
Despite the fact that most of the work done was in the field, the working environment was one where asking questions were encouraged and interaction was very much supported.
Highlights of the Experience
The interaction we had with residents of the slums, teachers at anganwaadis, etc. was not just limited to casual conversations to get to know them better, but also was in the form of surveys where we were given a questionnaire which we had to go asking around and the results were then to be given to the NGO who will analyse the same.
The slums visited were some of Hyderabad’s biggest and the people there were mostly nice but there were unwelcoming residents who had in more than one occasion behaved rudely with the interns. Getting to know the issues of the residents however, had shown us how much better off we lived despite us having our own issues.
The interaction also included training some school students for performing a skit on an event organized on account of World Toilet Day, which was attended by Municipal Officers and had wide regional media coverage. The students were active and lively.
Though their behaviour was unruly at times, they made up for the same by working hard and doing a great job on the day of the event.
A lot of us have our own perceptions of slums and some of us think that development of slum areas is easier than it sounds and that we just have to relocate the residents for a temporary time period within which the desired developments can be made. Similar is the common perception regarding development of anganwaadis. But after visiting the slums and interacting with the residents, one thing was imminent. We learnt that the residents were first unwilling to move out of their houses, even if temporarily and even if they were willing (which happened once or twice in the past), each male member of the usually existing joint families wanted their own house for their own respective families.
Governments have come and gone but not one of them aimed for the development of these slums. If anything, political authorities and sometimes even the slum leaders look at slums to be tools which they can achieve monetary benefits or achieve their other agendas.
Unfortunately, even if this attitude changes, one can never be sure if the stubbornness with which slum dwellers want to remain in their establishments will change or not.
There therefore is a need for those students of law who are willing to work for the upliftment of this social class to learn properly about their issues, their living conditions, the politics inside the slum, attitude towards government action, etc. Only if the basics are known can any person fight for their rights.
For an on-field internship in slums, the required skills are listed hereunder:
Effective communication skills: Effective communication does not just include the ability to speak well but to also ask questions or make statements after judging the situation and acting accordingly.
- Language: It is highly recommended that such internships be taken up at those places where one has fluency in the regional language and can understand the language clearly even if spoken in a different dialect or a new manner, as is the case with slum dwellers.
- Listening skills: While it is true that slum dwellers are visited by a lot of people surveying them or getting to know them, they appreciate a person who listens to their entire issue before making a statement.
- Social skills: As previously mentioned, an intern should be able to interact irrespective of social, political or other differences, which has made interaction difficult in some cases.