Slum dwellers in India get unique digital addresses through Google

Despite services becoming available to people with a physical address, it has taken a while to convince residents to register. Many had never heard of Google Maps and were suspicious of Joshi’s staff, mistaking them for Indian officials. Slum rehabilitation authority. So, the nonprofit enlisted local students to go door-to-door and talk to people about the program.

Over a thousand houses, drainage chambers, community toilets, aid centers and drinking water tanks in the slum now have plus codes. And each house in the program has a physical blue address sign displaying its code more for all to see.

“It saves me a lot of time,” says Suresh Devram Dharmavat, who used to close his grocery store on days he visited wholesale markets. Today he does deliver most of the items he needs using his code plus.

So far, Joshi’s organization has helped 9,000 families in Pune, Thane and Kolhapur obtain digital addresses and aims to cover 58 additional slums. Eventually, she hopes, residents will be able to add their codes to Aadhaar, India’s biometric identification program.

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