Within Indian cities, the construction industry is the single largest employer of migrant labourers. Approximately 11 million* men and women work in this sector, moving to wherever they can earn the most income. Most migrant labourers are illiterate and able to speak only their native language. They remain homeless, living on the construction sites in makeshift shanties. Their lives are characterized by wage instability and insecurity, dangerous working conditions, and a lack of access to any sort of welfare.
The children of these workers – a population estimated at over 3 million – are even more vulnerable. As a result of their families’ extreme poverty and parents’ inability to sacrifice even a day’s works, the children of migrant workers are often left to fend for themselves. They frequently suffer from malnutrition, undernourishment, accidents on the construction site, and numerous other health problems. They lack access to day-care centres or any sort of support system. The perilous construction site is their only playground.