News / Economy

    India's Tourism Industry Thrives on Largest Slum

    India's Tourism Industry Thrives on Largest Slumi
    X
    April 24, 2013 6:23 PM
    One of the world's largest slums is also a center of industrial production. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more on a tour company that is highlighting life in Dharavi, a mini-city within India's financial hub, Mumbai.
    Aru Pande
    One of the world's largest slums is also a center of industrial production. A tour company is highlighting life in Dharavi, a mini-city within India's financial hub, Mumbai.

    With a million people crammed into less than three square kilometers - Dharavi is one of the world’s most densely populated slums.
     
    Life-long resident Niyamath Khan, 70, recalled the transformation of what was once a small fishing village.
     
    “Fifty years ago, this was an open space - now there are so many people here," Khan remarked.

    One organization gives outsiders a glimpse of life inside this bustling Mumbai neighborhood, through walking tours aimed at dispelling negative stereotypes of slum life.
     
    Reality Tours and Travel CEO Stephanie Hays said visitors are surprised at what they see.
     
    “That’s what people don’t understand, that there are hospitals, there are schools, and there are businesses. There is industry, there is everything in here, and I think people are shocked by that," she said. "They are shocked by major streets running through. I think for me, the industry is what sets Dharavi apart.”
     
    Located within the heart of Mumbai, Dharavi is literally a city within a city, an industrial center that generates more than $650 million a year.”
     
    The slum is home to more than 10,000 single-room factories specializing in everything from handmade leather goods to recycled plastic.
     
    Malik Abdullah inherited his father’s business turning plastic scrap into polycarbonate granules.
     
    “Whatever items are made in India, the raw materials are prepared here and sent out," he explained. "The raw materials go to big industry, which make items that are sold both in and outside of India.”
         
    Abdullah’s spirit of entrepreneurship is typical of the businesses highlighted by Reality Tours.
     
    The organization said it tries to show life in Dharavi without being intrusive, disruptive or exploitative.
     
    The group also gives 80 percent of its profits back to the slum - money it said helps empower kids and teach residents English and computer skills.
     
    Last year, 10,000 people, mostly foreigners, took the tour; but even Mumbai residents like Kiran Jadhav participate.
     
    “For me, Dharavi was a place, just a place where people are very poor or below the poverty line are staying. I never thought it is a place with so much industry and work," Jadhav said. "And it is contributing to a lot of industrial work for Bombay and for India, so I was amazed with that.”
     
    Dharavi is set to be redeveloped into a more modern urban space in the coming years, with proper housing and retail areas. While the look of the slum will change, many hope its entrepreneurial spirit will remain.

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9036
    JPY
    USD
    102.32
    GBP
    USD
    0.7297
    CAD
    USD
    1.3005
    INR
    USD
    68.004

    Rates may not be current.