Street dwellings are flooded by monsoon rains in India

Children talk about monsoon rains and high hopes

World Vision UK's Steve Richards speaks to children in India.

It’s monsoon season in India right now and it’s been raining non-stop!  Given all the rain we’ve had in the UK over the last few months you might think I’d be quite comfortable with this, but here in a slum in Patna ADP the rain brings very different challenges.

I’m here in India to continue my storytelling mission with children, encouraging them to have a voice about their everyday experiences. Several of the children chose to write about the monsoons and I think their words will give you the best picture of what life is like here:

 “In monsoon there is a lot of rain.  Lightning flashes in the sky.  Tit tat tit tat tit tat the rain falls.  The cold days have come.  In monsoon I feel cold.  Water floods.  In the monsoon my house leaks.  In monsoons we put plastics over our roof.  Outside water gathers.  Once water gathers we have to make the drains and then the drains get full.” - Puja, Neha & Anjalie, 8.

People’s homes here are in a state of disrepair, with leaky roofs, bamboo fences for walls and mud floors. Although these are permanent dwelling places they look like temporary structures thrown together, especially with the added layers of plastic to keep out the torrential rain.

The monsoon also produces a range of health issues for children living here. The stagnant water left after the rain is a certified breeding ground for malaria carrying mosquitoes.  The change of climate brings high fever and flu. There are also some serious sanitation threats, with drains overflowing and rubbish everywhere.  This next group of children talk about this in their story:

It is rainy season. We like to take bath in it. The thunderclouds roar and then rain comes.  Near house the way becomes muddy, water log is also there.  When rains come we face problems in going to school, bags are also wet, then we put umbrella. Water also drops from the roof.  We face problem in that. From the muddy roads, very bad smells comes out. When we take bath in that rain we fall sick.  We have to eat medicine, it is very bad taste.” - Dipali, 10, Gudia, 14, Anshu, 12 & Priti, 10 years old.

Steve and lots of kids

Despite these challenges though, I was really encouraged to find that these children still have such high aspirations. Here are another couple of stories from peer learning groups about what the children want to do when they grow up.

“[In this card I see]; The first girl wants to be a farmer, the next child wants to be a football player, the third girl wants’ to be a singer, the fourth girl wants to be a doctor, the fifth girl wants to be a teacher.  Like these children we should also become something or someone and make are parents name and our countries name very high.  Like these children we should also think about the future and show we can do something.” - Shalu Utsav, Vishal Gaurav, eight.

I love to study.  With the knowledge every children wants to study.  Ashish loves to study science.  After studying Ashish wants to become scientist.  Mitun likes to study general knowledge, after studying, he wants to become doctor.  Sujata likes to study maths.  Pushpa wants to become teacher, children of our village goes to school at 10 o’clock and comes back at 4 o’clock.  The evening six to seven o’clock children goes for tuition.  Mummy and Papa gives us notebook and pencils.” - Roshni, 9, Ashish 12, Pushpa, 10, Sujatam, 10 years old.

The aim of these story writing workshops is to empower children and amplify their voices so that their communities, their sponsors and World Vision can hear.  I really hope that you have enjoyed hearing from the children and that their stories have given you a window into their world.

If you want to see a bit more of their world I have created a photo album on Facebook from my trip (you might even be able to spot your own sponsored child in there.)

If you’ve got any more questions about the story writing workshops or what life is like here in India please post on our Facebook page.

By Steve Richards, Children's Communications Specialist, World Vision UK

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