At the end of the day, the goals are simple "safety and security".

sujata gopal
Posted October 7, 2018 from India
At the end of the day, the goals are simple ." safety and security"

I had spent my childhood and youth in Mumbai, the largest city of India and second most populous city of the world.

Mumbai is the wealthiest city of India. It also has the largest number of billionaires and millionaires amongst all cities of India.


Yet, the basic amenity of a “safe and secure” shelter is out of reach of a majority of people

Statistics show that only 53% of households in India are in good condition. 40% of households have just one room. The average size of the room is only 200 sq. ft and at least five people have to share the only room.

I belonged to the 40% of the households. My large family of seven people lived in a tiny room in a dilapidated “CHAWL” in Mumbai

 The wiki describes “Chawls” as a quintessentially Mumbai phenomenon of multi-storied terrible quality tenements, typically a bit higher quality than slums. 80 per cent of chawls have only one room.

My house had walls of rusted iron metal sheets and tiled roofs. The walls had holes in them, through which rodents, snakes and other creatures entered the house. The roof leaked every year in the rains. Many times, we would have no option, but to sleep under an umbrella at night.

The house had an enclosure of rags and plastic for a bathroom. There was no roof. There was always the fear of "peeping Toms" trying to peep into the bathroom.

The chawl had one common water tap and a toilet. We had to share these basic amenities with at least 6 other families.

There was very little privacy in the house.  Hardly any relatives visited our house. I was always embarrassed to invite friends over.

Living in an unsafe house, for years was my nightmare.

As a child, I always had a dream of living in a house which had walls and a toilet

My dream became my life goal, once I entered college. My goal was to own a house. All my earnings were saved for buying my house. After working for a decade, I was able to purchase my house

 Today, I feel very safe and secure in my house. I am able to live peacefully and have my privacy.

When I look back, the hard work and   toil   of decades was worth it.

  Message to my sisters

“Take Charge” of your safety and security. You don’t need to depend on others.

Let’s all have a common purpose – safety and security for all our sisters across the globe

It is often said that

 “When women come together for a common purpose, they become a force to reckon with”



This story was submitted in response to The Future of Security is Women .

Comments 5

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Oct 07, 2018
Oct 07, 2018

Awww I was very eager to read it to the end.
I am very proud of you!
Our need is not much, peace and security, thats all, it shouldnt be hard to achieve.

Jill Langhus
Oct 08, 2018
Oct 08, 2018

Hi Sujata,

Thanks for sharing your very sad story about the percentage of people living in the these chawls in Mumbai. That's a very high percentage. I'm glad that you were able to save up for your home, though, and that you love it. I'm sure you appreciate it very much:-) Your story is inspiring.

Good luck with your story submission!

Lily Habesha
Oct 08, 2018
Oct 08, 2018

Hey dear,
Life is like that in Africa and Asia, few people lives a very lavish life and others fight for food and shelter in same city.
We don't need much, only peace and security.
We are fighting for it from other part of the world.

Thank you for sharing your story.


Sharon Bhagwan Rolls
Oct 08, 2018
Oct 08, 2018

Your story resonates across many generations of women and I am reminded of what my aunt shared with me about growing up in a rural town in Fiji is also a reminder that the WPS agenda is connected in so many ways to women's daily lives - including urbanisation and housing!!

Corine Milano
Oct 25, 2018
Oct 25, 2018

Sujata, how lovely! I am so proud of you for working hard and achieving your dream of having a safe and secure home. This is an inspiring story - thank you for sharing it!