Pune: A new initiative 'A Step Towards Home' has been launched by NGO Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), to support the incremental building process of the urban informal poor. Approximately, 45 per cent of Pune's population lives in informal settlements.
To understand better, the demand for reconstruction and retrofitting, the budget and the aspirations amongst the members of Solid Waste Collection and Handling (SwaCH) and KKPKP, in September, the team started an outreach campaign in around 30 of Pune's slum pockets and conducted preliminary surveys of their homes through a mobile app.
Alongside, with the aim of making this a scalable model and to facilitate more low-cost innovations, other architects were approached. Currently, a preliminary survey has been completed of 100 members' houses in different slums across the city, who are interested in retrofitting. Around 16 architects have taken up 22 members' houses to rebuild.
Yashoda Joshi, a city-based architect, said that the activity needs a lot of brainstorming and creativity.
"The major challenge is the limited budget and the second challenge is the limited space. These workers also have their own ideas and concepts which make the whole process very interesting. It is also challenging to collect the material that is to be used for the renovation," said Joshi.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Laxmi Narayan, General Secretary of KKPKP said that the essence of this project is to ensure that the poor can be involved meaningfully in the redesign of their own houses just like the middle class, they can also actually engage in the processes and tell architects what they like.
"For me, one of the highlights was the fact that Rajlaxmi Teli, an architect, took Pinky, a waste picker to a home decor and Pinky said she's never been to a shop like this before and she got to know of kitchen trollies and other things. I think these are small things and this kind of shops should actually be open to the poor. Rarely do informal workers actually go to such places. I hope this project brings in those kinds of changes and allows for more genuine interaction between communities and so on," said Narayan.
'Building from recycled material'
Members of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (CREDAI) Pune have also promised to contribute from their side. Speaking to Sakal Times, Ranjit Naiknavare, Secretary of CREDAI said that members of CREDAI are helping this noble initiative by giving the desired material. "The scarp material that we all do not need is supplied for this cause. As these homes are made from recyclable and reused material, we are providing them from our side," said Naiknavare.