Photographing communities in Mumbai: Dharavi
Back in Decemeber, the talented Jade Jackman made her way to Mumbai to shoot a documentary. This is her story.
In December, I was invited to Mumbai to film a promotional documentary about a new social enterprise called Dhararvi. The brand is named after the largest slum in Asia and is inspired by the communities' resourcefulness.
As founder Gee Linford-Grayson says: "Dharavi is a very unique place where nothing is wasted and the Indian mentality of "Jugaad" (finding solutions in a resourceful manner) is perfectly exemplified. As a community, Dharavi has solved many global issues of waste and inefficiency. I wanted to showcase that through developing a line of accessories that solved common problems faced by travellers, for example, trying to open your rucksack without the contents exploding everywhere! Despite being a dynamic and productive place, Dharavi faces a number of challenges, both as a community and as individuals living and working in that community. Therefore, my products are ethically produced, paying workers a fair wage and dealing with manufacturers directly to avoid exploitative middle men. Additionally, a percentage of the profits go back into Dharavi through community projects run by Reality Tours & Travel. I hope to challenge the perception of slums by naming my innovative new products after Dharavi- the place that inspired them."
To me, Mumbai was dynamic and exciting. The city is famed for film; it's known as the Bollywood capital and many of the studios are there, but, even the light and the traffic jams seemed to have a cinematic quality to me - I even begun snapping out the car window at passerbys in the three-hour jams which hold down the city. Watching the girls football team play in Dharavi was one of the highlights of my trip and demonstrated how slums are not backwards, as is the common perception. The girls football team was also funded and supported by Reality Tours & Travel.
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