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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8143
JPY
USD
119.23
GBP
USD
0.6390
CAD
USD
1.1596
INR
USD
63.304

Rates may not be current.