The Londor begging community have a long and rich history, woven into the wider stories of class struggle and social segregation in India. You can read more about the families of Londor here.
Why do we support the people of Londor?
By working alongside the community of Londor to find alternative incomes to begging, we hope to break the cycle of poverty for the entire community and create a safer environment for the children of My Name is Kumar to return to once they have left school.
We first started working with the adults in the community when, in winter 2015, terrible floods hit the areas surrounding Chennai and devastated parts of the Londor community. Many of the communities’ houses were destroyed or left dangerously unsafe, and one elder lady died. Together with our partners CARE Foundation we stepped in to help by offering emergency, temporary shelter and food.
We know that offering education to the children of Londor is vital, but we can initiate positive changes faster if we involve the whole community. So, following the floods we started to find ways in which we could do this.
What are the main problems to be solved?
It’s important to understand that the Londor begging community live on less than $1 a day and are socially isolated from other communities. Needless to say, all the adults in the community were once children of Londor too, and therefore suffered the same limitations and poverty that their children do today.
The main issues troubling the Londor community are:
- Poverty and negative social stigma: the people of Londor earn money begging at religious festivals and temples. As beggars they experience extreme social isolation and live on less than $1 a day
- Illiteracy: 99% of adults in the community are unable to read or write
- Alcohol addiction: alcohol is a cheap alternative to food which suppresses hunger and boredom
- Child marriage: this issue persists with many of the parents in the community having been under 18 themselves when they became mums and dads
- Domestic violence: traditional male/female roles oppress women and alcohol fuels violence
- Poor sanitation and ill-health; there is no access to clean drinking water and not being able to afford enough fresh food means that lots of people go days without a proper meal
What do our community development initiatives involve?
We work alongside the people of the Londor community to help them find alternatives to begging in order to earn a living and improve health, skills and happiness.
We do this with:
- Alcohol awareness workshops and education
- Promising birth certificates for all children in the community so that they can enter education, then find legal work and travel when they grow up
- Information on health, sanitation and nutrition. Lessons on cooking nutritious and balanced meals for their children
- Facilitating peer-to-peer support groups for men and women
- A money saving scheme for women from the community to help start their own business or trade
- A community kitchen garden to grow vegetables, the surplus of which can be sold at market
- Opportunities for skill development, such as tailoring training
- Building awareness about the hugely negative impacts of child marriage and early pregnancy. Working with parents to increase the importance of education over marriage
- Helping the community to purchase things such as safer solar lighting for use over wood fires
As an organisation we also buy a lot of our own necessities from the community in order to encourage trade. For example we purchase firewood, mangoes, peanuts and other produce from the Londor community for use in the children’s home.
Where appropriate we have also hired people from the community to help us run the children’s home. You can read about Gengamma’s story here.
How do we do this?
Most of our work in the community is funded through grant support received from various partners and partnerships with other nonprofits such as Salt of the Earth. Receiving donations from our supporters, no matter how big or small, helps us too. If you like, you can give a gift to the Londor community below.