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Facts of low income urban life

These facts were based on a survey from a low income urban group. We recorded all the complaints from the people in the locality and brought up the situation. This survey was done in Srikakulam, a place in Andhra Pradesh. We took a community and asked them some questions.

Photo of Rohith Rai
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1. What does a poor household look like?
- It consists of more than one person. Usually people in rural areas tend to stay together and lead the life of a joint family. They live with remote stuff either borrowed from others or donated to them by others. It is found out that they don’t really have any goals in life and look forward for someone else to help them out in any problematic situation
- They need easy money, they will not work for others and under others.
- Sticks themselves to TV shows, serials, movies etc.

2. What types of households do we observe?
- There are different types of households observed in the rural areas. People who were born poor and wanted to come up in their life, the other kind of people who were born poor and have no goals to achieve, attracted to unwanted stuff like playing poker, alcohol, smoking etc.

3. Why do they live like that?
- They grow up in an environment watching people play poker, smoking, drinking every day and fighting over silly things. They are so close minded that they knew nothing about the outside world and what is happening out there. They only care about the quarter bottle of alcohol that they get at the end of the day.
- There are people who wanted to better their living, and they work hard for it. But everything becomes a burden as they have children, their fees, their utilities etc.

4. How secure are they?
- This is interesting as I observed that women are pretty much similar to men and even more aggressive than men when it comes to the point of fighting. Men are sometimes afraid of women.
- For women in rural areas, security is necessary, but they don’t really face issues as much as the corporate women face, because they don’t look as beautiful as the women living in the corporate world. But, that beauty theory proved wrong, many men need their body and are not affected by the beauty factor. So, it could be women from rural or from urban areas, they are not secure.
- If there is an external danger, they all come together as one to overcome that danger.

Some facts: 
  1. 80% don’t have education
  2. 10% educated people are relentless to work
  3. Cockroach mentality – People do not want others to develop, they deliberately pull other's leg
  4. People want their own family to develop, not the others
  5. In a family, where there is development, others feel jealous, and they plan how to destroy their family, how to destroy their pride, how to push them into loss etc. they think about others, rather than themselves
  6. People are addicted to gambling, drinking, fighting etc.
  7. They have forefathers property, which might be less, but they feel they have enough to lead their life
  8. Fighting mentality – they do not have any other work than poking others for a  fight
  9. Family egos – people feel that someone else is earning more and they are living happily, they are jealous of them
  10. Women are meant to be submissive and they are only subjected to the kitchen


Join the conversation:

Photo of Meena Kadri

Would be great to hear more about where this research was conducted – perhaps you might add that to your post?

And here's a friendly tip: update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can dig who they're collaborating with. Think skills, experience, passions & wit! Looking forward to seeing more of you across conversations on this challenge...

Photo of Rohith Rai

Thank you Meena for the help, I updated the name of the place, and also updated my profile.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Rohith, thanks for sharing. To follow up on Meena's point, could you tell us more about how many people were interviewed and who were these people? Were they people from a low income community or is it the perception by people in nearby communities?

Two points I noticed: the power of "replication": people tend to replicate the life style they had; several times you mentioned jealousy between families, which can potentially hinder a sense of community and the support associated to it.

Photo of Rohith Rai

Thanks Anne for following up, I will collect all the details of people from that particular locality and post in my comment box. And coming to the point of "Replication" and "Jealous", i have seen that personally. and i feel that is a big hindrance for the people in that locality. These are the mail reasons why they live the same way since two decades. I see no change in them.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Might also be interesting to include some quotes from actual informants (translated to English if possible) Sometimes reading what they actually said draws greater human-centered insights than a summary through a researcher's lens. Also wondered – were there any points of convergence amongst responses? Much of this post makes it seems like everyone was agreeing – while usually in research in low-income contexts there are divergent and convergent perspectives – and the convergent ones can provide particularly interesting insights and design opportunities.

Another thing which is a great inspiration for researching in low-income communities is to seek out positive deviants:

Photo of Rohith Rai

Thanks for all your points, i am preparing a separate document, with some pictures and some names of the people. And as Meena asked, i will translate the actual quotes they spoke.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Great to hear Rohith. And sorry, I made a mistake in my earlier comment. Should have read: "Much of this post makes it seems like everyone was agreeing – while usually in research in low-income contexts there are divergent and convergent perspectives – and the *divergent* ones can often provide particularly interesting insights and design opportunities. "