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Apna Street


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Apna Street is the story of how a small group of pavement dwellers in Mumbai transformed their own lives, and those of millions of other homeless people across India and the world. In1986, pavement dwellers from several neighbourhoods in Byculla came together to explore their dream of a secure home. This network of women’s collectives named themselves Mahila Milan or ‘Women Together”. They elected a committee of eleven members to represent them. Every two weeks the City Council had demolished their huts, and confiscated their few household belongings. Each time the women rebuilt their huts. But now they had decided ‘enough was enough!’ A quarter of a century later, the movement has grown beyond all recognition. There are many sister Mahila Milans all across India. In association with the National Slum Dwellers’ Federation and SPARC, a modest-sized NGO in Mumbai it has formed a close working alliance that has given birth to Slum/Shack Dwellers International, a world-wide movement working in more than twenty three countries in Southeast Asia, South Africa and South America. The alliance has spawned Nirman, a major construction company that builds houses for pavement and slum dwellers across India with an annual turnover of twenty crore rupees ($40 million)!