Around six years ago, during my first visit to India, I spent 2 days walking all around the slums of Mumbai. Even though I got to learn quite a bit about life in the slums, I didn’t have the chance to live inside the slums and because of that, I left with more questions than answers.
So when I came back to India for the second time, I decided to go back to Mumbai and spend five days living in Dharavi, which is one of the largest slums in the world.
This experience opened my eyes in ways I couldn’t have imagined because I got to spend so much time with the local people, who completely transformed my outlook on what their lives were like.
Six years ago I spent two days walking around the slums of Mumbai, but didn’t have the chance to live there and left with more questions than answers
So now that I came back to India for the second time, I went back to Mumbai
And decided to spend five days living inside Dharavi, which is one of the largest slums in the world
This experience opened my eyes in ways I couldn’t have imagined, because I got to spend so much time with the local people, who completely transformed my outlook on what their lives were like
I had a very distorted view of the people of the slums. I grew up hearing stories about them dying on the streets, no one being able to read and write, kids having to sleep surrounded by flesh-eating rats and so on
There are, of course, tons of problems that need to be addressed, especially when it comes to sanitation
For example, sources say that in Dharavi there is an average of 1 toilet for a thousand people
Also, livestock generally lives in the same quarters with people and that, combined with the fact that the water sources lack cleaning facilities, sometimes causes the spread of contagious diseases
However, people there are just like everywhere else
They have their own dreams, goals, careers, thoughts and emotions. They are in no way different from the rest of us
It doesn’t matter where we come from. We are all equal. Some of us are born with golden spoons in our mouths, others are not. But that doesn’t define us
What defines us is our pursuit of happiness, our compassion for others and our ability to adapt to whatever circumstances we’re in and make the best of them
See all of my experiences in the slums in the video below!