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.
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.
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. 

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