Community leaders of tomorrow: Mumbai is full of opportunities

This Child Rights week, a 15-year-old tells her story of beginning to like Mumbai, her aspirations for the society and passion to bring about equality.

This Child Rights Week, Citizen Matters brings to you voices from three young community leaders. This is the third story of the series.

I am Bibi Rehmat, living in Behram Nagar in Bandra. I study in class ten. When I was 6 years old I came to Mumbai. I was born in Gonda District in Basti, Uttar Pradesh. I liked the open spaces and fresh air in my village, there’s too much pollution in the city. But here in the city, there are a lot of opportunities, more freedom compared to the village, and one can learn English more easily. I really want to learn English well. I love talking to people.     

In my community, the roads and gullies are narrow and uneven, we often fall down. There are also many open drains. Only a few community toilets have lights, we feel scared. There are also no open spaces and grounds to play. There is one big playground, Colgate Maidan, but girls don’t go there as our parents don’t allow us because it’s too far. I go only sometimes with ammi. I love playing sports and games like football and catch-and-cook with my friends in school. I used to play but ever since school is shut, we don’t any more.

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/8DeoGB_gCB_lQYREmOfb5DvOD0oFsEsvB88iIH-17u_eSSFa_st5coPLE5z7kOBBbb_Qe13xNcMLPpb9F-epe6FYWS7FGvcJ4MRf20vwAONS7AhfpKvbC2Jxy7LFhfKzTLYtSHBf
Rehmat completing her daily studies. She enjoys learning English and loves reading story books and newspapers.

I want girls like me in the community to feel safe. There are lots of gullies that are unsafe, there’s a lot of bullying by older kids and eve-teasing in those areas. If this stops and our community becomes safe, all my friends will come out of their homes freely. They will show their talents. They will learn, study and go forward in their lives. But parents also need to be supportive. I hope they are convinced. 

Our area is also very dirty because of which there are a lot of mosquitoes and insects and the number of people getting sick is increasing day by day. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government is encouraging people to be clean and keep their surroundings clean but our community has not been sanitised as of now. 

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/JtiFGvgEPAkZH-4NtSpsfMHFA4iWQoLGPUCZYLY2C1M3AgMsaQ5Yz6Ef5z8kdQ9KDVte9tm4mO4s8vYQD1GVSHuVr8gBIH7FK3K8tE4dk7uZEf9GfNQLuDAxdw2NhDMts3zXMqo7
Rehmat playing an indoor game with her friends at the YUVA community resource centre

When I grow up, I want to become a police officer. I want to change a few things. Many times I see that they don’t listen to the ones who are right and favour the ones who are wrong because they have given them a bribe. I want to be a police officer who doesn’t take bribes. I want to listen to the people and deliver justice accordingly. There is a lot of robbery and violence in the community; there is also a lot of eve-teasing. I want to stop all of this. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Domestic violence in resettlement areas: Community workers bear the burden

Community workers, who are the first respondents to attend domestic violence cases in Chennai's resettlement areas, face innumerable challenges

As Priya* woke up at 5:30 am, she took the final sip of her coffee and was about to begin her morning prayers when she received a call from an unknown number. A few years ago, she wouldn't have bothered to answer. But now, as a community worker in a resettlement site, calls from unfamiliar numbers have become a routine part of her daily life. A woman could be heard crying at the other end. Priya asked her to calm down and speak clearly. The woman informed her that her husband was beating her up and had locked her inside…

Similar Story

Addressing pet dog attacks: A balance between regulation and compassion

Government intervention is necessary to prevent indiscriminate breeding and trade of pet dogs, and more shelters are needed for abandoned pets.

Recently, two pet Rottweiler dogs attacked a five-year-old child and her mother in a  Corporation park in Nungambakkam, Chennai. Based on a complaint following the incident, police arrested the owners of the dog for negligence and endangering the lives of others (IPC Section 289 and 336). As General Manager-Administration of the Blue Cross of India, I have seen several Rottweilers over the years. While there are laws to address such situations, there needs to be adequate awareness among pet owners that dogs like Rottweilers should be taken for a walk only on a leash. A major portion of the responsibility…