As mentioned in a post in November 2016 the families evicted from Charan Khad in June 2016 were forced to move outside the town of Dharamsala which had been the home of some of them for almost 35 years. Although a few have since moved far away, the majority are living in an area not far from Kangra Airport, some 15 km from Dharamsala itself, including those that have set up home on the banks of a river in the village of Chetru.
Brigid Whoriskey, one of the trustees of Tong-Len UK has recently spent a few weeks working with Jamyang and describes the situation as follows:
“…..the conditions in the slums are terrible. The community that lived in the Charan slum have scattered since their eviction. Some have formed another smaller slum in an area called Chetru. There is no access to clean water, no sanitation and the area is subject to flooding in the monsoon. I held a day-old baby who was born in the dirt to a teenage mother and faces an uncertain future. The families have to travel long distances to beg or scavenge in the rubbish and there is evidence in some families of malnutrition. Some of the ‘better off’ families have moved to rented rooms. However, while marginally better, the rooms are just bare concrete, overcrowded and there is no access to clean water, sanitation or electricity. Tong-Len is the only organisation providing help and hope for these families. Every day the Tong-Len school bus collects children to take them to school and the Tong-Len medical team visit every week. And despite the poverty, the children still had excited smiles and a warm welcome on the two occasions I visited.”