If you’ve been looking into travelling to India, and more specifically to Mumbai, then you have probably come across the concept of “slum tours” along the way. You might be thinking that a visit to a “slum” would be inappropriate and encouraging poverty tourism, but that’s not true. We’re here to break those misconceptions and show you why they should be part of your travel itinerary.
Why should you take part in a tour of “slum”?
At The Dragon Trip, we believe that one of the most important things about travel is its educational values. The opportunities for learning about different cultures and lifestyles found whilst travelling are unparalleled. When creating our India adventure tours, we decided that a tour of the third largest slum in the world, Dharavi, should be included during the Mumbai sections of our itineraries, for the purpose of educating our trippers about the different lifestyles within India. We want to help dispel the negative connotations associated with “slums” and living in Dharavi and showcase the fully running economy present there.
What does it entail?
When creating our India adventure itineraries, we decided to work with Be The Local Tours, a local company set up by two residents who were born and raised, and still live in Dharavi. Be The Local Tours describes Dharavi as ‘The Motherland of Opportunity’, a homegrown neighbourhood where businesses flourish. They set up the tours with the aim of dispelling the negative connotations linked to Dharavi in mainstream media, and educate tourists about the thriving industries and lifestyles within the community.
“If visitors are expecting extreme poverty and despair based on movie depictions, they will be disappointed. In fact, this tour actively breaks stereotypical depictions of slums.”
Not only do these tours of Dharavi aim to educate tourists, but they also give back directly to the community by hiring local full-time students pursuing higher education as tour guides. This allows them to receive a sustainable income to support their studies, boost their self-confidence and share the knowledge they have of their home.
Did you know that are numerous industries in Dharavi, including recycling, pottery, leather and textiles?
Over 250,000 people are employed in Dharavi’s recycling industry, where over 80% of the city of Mumbai’s waste is recycled and given new life.
Dharavi’s businesses earn over 1 billion USD annually!
Check out this video to find out more about Be The Local Tours
Still not completely convinced? Have a read of these reviews!
“Once we got to Dharavi he explained all about the stages of the slum and introduced us to many of the businesses that are set up inside. Inside the slum was not at all what I was expecting and I had underestimated just what a thriving community and business emporium is amongst it. The homes, schools and hospitals within the slum also were interesting. You are not allowed to take photos inside but the memories we will take back from the slum community are one in a million.” – A TripAdvisor Member
“We met Farzan who grew up in Dharavi and who is trying to change the perception of the slum in Mumbai to one of positivity and necessity. The people of Dharavi are happy, hard-working individuals who operate as a community to transform the enormous amount of waste produced by the whole of Mumbai into reusable and recyclable products. 60% of the waste produced by Mumbai is recycled in Dharavi into products that can be reused by the locals or even sent overseas or around the country to be made into new items. This tour and insight into the slum area was fascinating and a real eye opener as to what can be achieved by a bit of imagination and ingenuity” – A TripAdvisor Member