Not very distant from the city of Bhubaneshwar lies the town of Khandagiri, home to the historical and well-known Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves. What many of us, however, are not aware of is the other side of this archaeological district- a space dotted with several slums that are barely integrated in the semi-urban landscape. These slums lack basic amenities such as personal water connections and toilets. Their inhabitants hail from rural villages in Odisha, and have gathered here in their search of better job opportunities near the city.
The women of these households are homemakers, or are engaged in small-businesses such as tailoring, incense stick making, petty shops or beauty parlours, while the men are usually away, working in nearby towns and cities as carpenters, drivers, construction workers and daily wage labourers. The women and men of these households together are able to bring in no more than $90-$150 per month.
The younger members of this community go to local government schools as their parents now understand the importance of education, and wish for their children to have greater opportunities than they had themselves. For higher education, students have to travel 1-2 hours every day to a nearby town. Life remains full of tough challenges for these children despite their exposure to education. The cramped houses with little to no ventilation do not make for ideal places to study. Additionally, the girls do not receive the same kind of support for pursuing their education and are often expected to help out with household chores.
In spite of these hardships, the children and their supportive parents have not relinquished their dreams and aspirations. Milaap, through its partnership with Mahashakti Foundation, will provide children from Khandagiri education loans- to fund their tuition fees, stationery needs, textbooks, school uniform etc.
Local partner Milaap provides a loan to the Mahashakti Foundation that must be repaid in 24 months.