Updated on: Tuesday, May 28, 2019, 11:45 PM IST

You have endless possibilities: Speakers at TEDx Dharavi


Mumbai: Every lane is a factory and every household of Dharavi is a department creating something unique, claimed speakers at the TEDx Dharavi event on Sunday.

The event organised at Shanmukhananda auditorium, Sion witnessed local talent from the streets of Dharavi to entrepreneurs who have tried to improve the standard of living of Dharavi residents. Termed as Asia’s largest slum area with a population of over 10 lakh residents, Dharavi is known for its unique talent, creative ideas and innovative entrepreneurs.

For the first time, the area now has its own online market called DharaviMarket where craftsmen can sell their products like leather bags, clothes and accessories digitally. Megha Gupta, Founder of this market, said, “We now export products made in Dharavi to countries like Canada, Dubai and western countries.


We have created over 150 jobs and increased the income for local craftsmen.” Jameel Shah, 35, who came to Mumbai without any money but with a strong desire to meet the celebrities, is now making shoes for all the Bollywood celebrities from the slum settlement.

Shah said, “I did various odd jobs like working as a security guard just to pay my fees for a dance class. I have learnt Latin Ballroom dance form and now I make customised shoes for celebrities. I never knew my dream would come true despite facing difficult situations and working in small time leather factories at Dharavi.”

While Venkat Iyer, an Information Technology (IT) professional took a reverse loop and went back to being a self-trained farmer to help contribute to the society. Performing Art and Sports is the new trend among youngsters at Dharavi. Gulafsha Ansari, 22, pursued her passion to play football at an international level and has started encouraging other girls of India to pursue their dreams.


Ansari said, “Girls have to face a lot of stereotypes even today. But education and sports can help them to build a stronger personality.” Baburao Laad Saheb, a resident of Dharavi, has trained over 15,000 locals in acting, direction, scriptwriting and dancing.

The art of listening can help us understand each other better and build healthy relations, claimed the speakers. Shirin Merchant, a canine behaviorist, said, “We are so engrossed in our phones and technology that we do not talk to each other even at a social gathering.

This lack of communication affects our well being and we fear talking or sharing things which leads to insecurities. We can understand so much if we listen and observe body language.”  While Kumar Shailabh, Founder of Uplift Mutuals, has started an initiative to provide insurance to the people below poverty line. Shailabh said, “We take our health for granted but prevention is cheaper and better than cure.”


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Published on: Tuesday, April 30, 2019, 07:56 AM IST