114 Future Forwards: Exploring Frontiers in Education
growing up. He laid stress on the fact that a business can do really well
and at the same time have social impact. He encouraged the participants
to focus on People - Planet - Profits which are the essential ingredients of
a successful Social Enterprise.
The participants and teachers went on an Experience Trip to the Dharavi
slums to see how enterprises functioned there. We met our guide on the
bus and he gave us some vital statistics about life and enterprise in the
bustling mega slum.
Dharavi's industries have an annual turnover of US $665 Million
It is one of the largest slums in Asia
This seemed like an interesting juxtaposition. A slum with an annual
turnover of US $665 Million. We walked through a narrow lane and Balaji,
our guide showed us our first enterprise that was involved in the Leather
Tanning Process. This involved treating skins of animals to produce
leather. It was a complex process and various chemicals were used. Balaji
mentioned how safety often took a back seat in these environments and
earning your daily bread was a more important priority. He also told us
about the sanitation and housing problem in Dharavi. People stay in small
hutments and often hundreds of people have to share a single toilet. We
then got to visit a recycling area within Dharavi and also got to witness a
worker separating some scrap material. We visited the Kumbharwada
Pottery Colony and also got to observe some women make the Indian
appetizer, the poppadum. We ended the tour at the Community Center
of the company. Reality Tours and Travel was the name of the enterprise.
Over 80% of the funds collected on these tours were given to an
organization called Reality Gives that managed the community center
and ran high quality education programs in areas where Reality Tours
worked. It was an interesting business model.
At the community center, the tour guide asked our group two words to
describe the whole experience and some of the answers were
"Innovative" and "Diverse."