India has entered the era of massive urbanisation, with over 20 percent of the population moving to cities and another 10 percent working in them seasonally. Migrants in India account for 454 million people. However, the governments on both levels have failed to embrace urban migration. The governmental policy has excluded millions from the healthcare, banking and public distribution systems. Current policy interventions like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna focus on housing ownership. However, for a floating migrant population, ownership is a long distance away and rental housing is an urgent need.
To address these gaps, Pratham Education Foundation, in collaboration with Citi Foundation, launched Project Rise in 2016. The initiative provides low-cost housing to migrating youth by setting up Working Women’s and Men’s Hostels, where the facilities can be availed for as little as Rs 50 a day. The hostels aim at providing support to migrants from rural areas so they can smoothly transition into city life. The migrants are provided basics like clean living conditions, hygienic cooking facilities and a ‘crash course’ on living, working and travelling in the city. Pratham then supports these youth to move from the hostels and integrate with the local communities where they live and work.
In addition to housing, Project Rise also helps migrants gain access to Aadhaar and PAN cards, financial linkages and low-cost healthcare, to ensure sustained support. Over the last year and a half, the project has reached over 15,000 people and has spread from Mumbai, to New Delhi, Pune and Hyderabad.