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Homeless youth go on a cleanliness drive to make Old Delhi greener, cleaner and better

Think Change India
30th Jan 2019
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From waste segregation to beautifying the colonies, Marham is training the youth to add freshness to Old Delhi through a cleanliness drive.

If you are familiar with the streets of Old Delhi, then you will most likely know about the state of affairs in the area. Roads filled with heaps of garbage, overflowing drains, Paan (beetle leaf) stains on walls, and electric wires blocking the sky view is a common sight.

Marham
One among the few graffiti made by Marham, source Efforts For Good

While Old Delhi is almost synonymous with filthy colonies and crowded lanes, for many decades now, there has been no government intervention to develop the streets or maintain the buildings.


Also Read: 24-year-old Nangjop's cleanliness drive is garnering countrywide appreciation


Despite the hustle bustle, things are now changing, thanks to the cleanliness drive taken up by Marham (Muslim Association Rehabilitating Homeless and Mistreated), a group of young men and women, who are giving these colonies a new look.

Marham, cleanliness
The men behind the drive, Irtiza on left, source Efforts For Good

Started in 2016 by Irtiza Qureshi, the organisation works towards the rehabilitation of homeless youth in Delhi. So far, it has rescued 16 children and has trained them for different life skills.


Also Read: Northeastern Mawlynnong is India's cleanest village


Speaking to Efforts For Good, Qureshi said,

We used to train them in electrical repairing and plumbing. But soon we noticed it was not easy for them to find jobs due to the cut-throat competition and increasing unemployment rates.

He further adds,

I have grown up in Old Delhi, and I have witnessed the lack of environmental awareness among people. For most people, global warming or climate change are alien terms.

The Marham team, which consists of four working professionals, including Qureshi, has trained five homeless people in garbage segregation, waste management, compost making and raising vertical gardens. According to Qureshi, the team learnt everything from YouTube.

Marham
The vertical garden on across the wall, source Efforts For Good

The team has assigned the waste segregation process to two women, who visit every house to teach the residents about waste management. They have also given them two separate bins to segregate waste - one for dry waste and another one for wet waste.


Also Read: Who is Jaduman and why is this girl painting him at railways stations across India?


That’s not all. The kitchen waste is taken to nearby parks by the team, where it is converted into organic compost. Later, the soil and compost are used for vertical gardens.

Explaining about the cleanliness drive, Qureshi said,

We keep dustbins at every 10 metres, and in front of houses and shops. We inform the residents and ask them to put their trash bags in these bins before 10 am every morning, before the municipal garbage collector arrives.

The team has also come up with other innovative ideas to make the lanes look clean and beautiful. Now, one can see the walls covered with plants growing in discarded plastic bottles. The walls are also painted in yellow, giving it a bright look, reports AajTak. In addition to this, the team has also started painting graffiti on its walls.

In terms of financial support, Qureshi said,

Interestingly, the funds come majorly as contributions from the four core team members, and some has been raised through crowdfunding on social media. In the days to come, Marham aims to give a ‘clean and green’ makeover to more lanes in Delhi.

“It is a slow change, but a much-needed one,” he adds.


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