Shelter for Slum Dwellers

Year Execution: 
Organization in Charge: 
Darjeeling Jesuits of North Bengal
Nº of Families helped: 

On the foothills of the Himalayas, landslides cause the destruction of houses and villages every year during the monsoon season. Jesuits build homes for those who live under the tarpaulins that the government gives to them as temporary relief. After consulting the potential beneficiaries of the project, it was decided that they would have freedom to build their homes as they wished. All of them were able to construct safe and secure houses at a rather low cost. The main participants were the 28 families (with an average of 4-5 persons per family and about 130 persons), who actively participated in the project from the very beginning. In some areas the families enthusiastically worked together and helped each other in carrying materials to their own respective places. A trained building crew who has experience of many years building homes for the poor provided technical assistance. Due to the heavy monsoons and the blockage of main road as well as the strikes and the political unrest in the Darjeeling Hills, there was some delay in getting the building materials to seven families. Now they completed all the buying and transportation of the construction materials and almost finished construction. All houses were completed in October. This project has given a helping hand to the people who were unable to stand on their own. They are now convinced that they can walk confidently in a new way. They also received education, health care and training in various fields so that they become able to sustain themselves. Fr. Tommy wrote in the Darjeeling Province Newsletter “Him-Dhawani” about the SELAVIP project. Contact: Fr. K.A Thomas, S.J