A WF-AID fact-finding mission is underway to kick off a programme intended to eradicate Khoja poverty in Mumbai.
In the land where the very first Khojas lived, community members are suffering the hardships of extreme poverty and too many Khoja families are living in desperate conditions.
The WF-AID team are on the ground until 9 February, meeting people with expert knowledge of the problem – India Federation, Jamaats, private trusts and social workers.
Proven to work
They will then devise economic upliftment solutions designed to make maximum impact. Similar schemes are envisaged to those proven to work with the Haydari Benevolent Trust in Karachi, Pakistan:
- A small business loans program to help community members set up a new business or breathe new life into a struggling one, promoting entrepreneurship to dramatically improve their income and transform their prospects.
- A skill development program starting with coding, designed particularly to give women and girls a route into a lucrative career in information technology.
“Driven by what we find”
However, World Federation Councillor for Eradication of Poverty Sibtein Asaria, who is accompanying the WF-AID team, said: “Our actions will be driven by what we find on the ground during our visit.”
He added: “Our proud Khoja history tells how our ambitious forefathers left India to seek their fortunes in Africa, then on to Europe and North America. For those they left behind, the story has often been far harder.
Hope for a fulfilled life
“More than 70 million Indians live on less than $1.90 a day. In Mumbai 55% of the population survive in poor living conditions. In the Suhana complex in the city, Khoja families live in misery, squeezed into rundown flats, sharing toilets, with elders, widows and children living on top of each other in cramped conditions. In the 21st century!
“We can rescue these families from absolute poverty, give them a greater stake in the community and instill the hope and optimism essential to a fulfilled life. We can do so by
creating a programme under WF-AID to uplift our Indian Khoja brethren, starting with Mumbai. Together we can make a difference.”
On their return, the team will make a comprehensive report on the extent of the need, then formulate the best methodology and funding approach.