May 24, 2016

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Children workshop – Subhash bridge slum & Jamalpur vegetable wholesale market

Children Workshop report of Group 2 (Subhash bridge slum & Jamalpur vegetable wholesale marke) Day 1 :-                         On the very first day of workshop we started the introduction session where all the participants from different backgrounds were introduced to one another. All of us were divided in the groups of 3-4 members randomly in order to start for our first group activity along with the children. The groups consisted of around 10 children and 2 volunteers with 3-4 engineering students amongst us. we were taken to observe the situation of the economically and socially backward people like the people living in the slums at subhash bridge, who are unfortunate to get the basic commodities and facilities to live a comfortable life. We were there to guide those tiny tots to identify as many as basic problems they were facing and develop an innovative mind among them so that they can come across some wonderful solutions. As we started observing we came across a number of problems and some of the common once were

  • Water scarcity
  • Unhygienic living Conditions
  • Storage and accommodation
  • Drainage System
  • Smoke
  • Water purification
  • Fuel combustion

2.1      2.2

More than the half of People in slums uses the conventional coal stove generating large amount of smoke which causes pollution and use to inculcate many pulmonary diseases in them. Children identified that women there have to blow continuously to keep the stove ignited. Children apart from being too young to get in the technical stuffs asked other children over there what is their situation at their place and what do they expect to be improved to live a better life . They also asked many other questions which gave them an insight of what the people needs there and where to work. Then other problem was drainage issue. Especially in monsoon and during the most of the year the water used to clog down outside their houses and now people are just used to those conditions and adapted them to the place which again was the critical point where children thought they can do something. Also due to the compact and congested housing people are having problems like where to dry their clothes? , etc. So we found that children having an innocent attitude went through even very small aspects of living and empathised themselves involving themselves in the situation quite well that even we all should learn from them.   Day2: Followed by the live experience of problems that people face in slum, we tried to analyse these problems, discuss with other people, share experiences and finding solutions to these problems. The whole workshop proceeds as follows:

  • Analysing and listing common and big problems faced by people and sharing our experiences from previous day
  • Identifying those problems which can be solved at an individual level and doesn’t require heavy resources
  • Sharing ideas children had in mind with the group and guests and discuss about the feasibility and required engineering
  • Drawing a basic sketch of the solution to understand the problem more efficiently and getting to know more about feasibility
  • Getting assistance from engineering students and teachers while drawing the sketch
  • Discussing amongst the whole group and getting inputs from all group members to develop a better solution to the problems at hand
  • Developing a working model of the solution proposed to check its feasibility and to showcase our idea to the guests and teachers
  • A final presentation of the problems and ideas identified was given

Some of the ideas as suggested by children are as follows:                        2.3

  • Smoke from fuel combustion is a very big problem for every country nowadays. But what about when this problem is there when you are cooking in a single small room of slum. These people use very traditional stoves in which they were not able to blow air properly and thus they were having lung problems. Two students suggested solution to this problem:


  1. Use of blower to ignite fire: Hashim and Sohel suggested the use if fan/blower and using lever to run the fan to blow air and ignite fire. They suggested that this way female members of family would not suffer from smoke while cooking as shown in figures:

2.4                          2.5   a. Sketch by Hashim              b.  Sketch by Sohel

  1. Use of Cycle pump to ignite fire: Mehetab suggested the use of cycle pump to blow air to stove for igniting fire. This method but had a problem that air would not be pumped in a continuous way and will have breaks.       2.6
  • Smoke produced during cooking also hinders in many other ways. To remove the problem from the root, some children also thought of removing smoke by employing chimney. Foram suggested use of chimney with the use of water filter as smoke neutralizer. Design proposed by her is:

2.7 Houses in slums are very small and just sufficient to fill the needs of people living there. Tis leads to very small problems and may lead serious issues. Lack of drying area is there in houses and thus they are forced to dry clothes outside their houses which leads to:


(i)             Public Disputes (ii)           Hindrance to people passing by Solutions to such small and big problems were also given by students as follows:

  1. For parallel Houses: Purva suggested that houses in slums are designed such that the average distance between parallel houses are very less. She suggested the use of this space for drying clothes so that there is more space available and less hindrance. Also, to hang clothes on these wires she employed a lever and rope mechanism. When the rope is pulled, the level would lower down to put and collect clothes and when it is not required can be pulled to send up to different height.

  1. Drying clothes at different height: Tarun suggested the use of different levels the clothes can be hanged where the height of these levels can varied using lever and rope mechanism as used in curtains. He also suggested this as improvement to the design Purva suggested. This idea was appreciated by  a large audience as it help us dry more clothes in less space and resolves disputes as well.

  • Water, being our lifeline, is wasted in large amounts. This is threatening our life on this plant. During summer seasons, India suffers a lot because of water scarcity and increased us of water. Vidhi proposed in such situation the use of bio sand filter. This idea was not worked more upon as this problem requires large resources from government.


  • People in India has this tendency not to think and follow traffic rules. If we consider any circle area where traffic lights are installed for example, a large number of people do not switch off their vehicles and sometime do not even stop at the light. To solve this problem, Vats suggested to make a vehicle which has this special quality to connect to the sensors of traffic light and stopping of vehicle as soon as light turns red. This would reduce fuel consumption and increases the efficiency of traffic light system. But some points needs to be considered in this idea about the emergency vehicles and misuse of such system.


  • People in slums don’t have access to hospitals and are not even aware of government schemes regarding the health care. Ayushi proposed a mobile health care system and a team to reach to these people and providing them preliminary treatment and advising them regarding any further treatment is required or not.
  • Labors in vegetable market carry very heavy load on their back which leads to health problems. One of the major problem is to lift the bag from lower height to the level we stand. Subham proposed the use of fulcrum to carry load from ground level to the truck level easily where a person is already standing to pull it. This will reduce the physical strength required to do the job.


All members of the group were asked to debate upon the ideas and suggesting some improvements to have some kind of brain storming to arrive to new ideas. These solutions were then presented by students and were appreciated and advised by the teachers and other fellow children. The workshop ended with distribution of certificates to children and teachers.

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