Bainganwadi Slum, Mumbai

Mumbai is one of the great cities of the world. As a world class commercial and financial centre, with impressive and historic architecture and many facilities for tourism, it is a city of which India is rightly proud. Its vibrancy and wealth attracts millions of migrants from the countryside onto this crowded island and the social facilities and infrastructure are incapable of handling such numbers. As a result there is vast and almost unimaginable poverty for those who are unable to take hold of the opportunities this city promises.

Bainganwadi slum is the second largest in Mumbai (only outsized by Dharavi, which featured in the film Slumdog Millionaire). Built on the city’s biggest rubbish dump, children scour the junk for scrap metal to sell and play among the debris and sewage.

But there is also a vibrant beauty to slum life for those who choose to explore its paradox: experience for yourself the warm welcome you receive from the Bainganwadi community – the bright festivities; the dogged resourcefulness; the appetite for life found here from those who have so little but live so fully.

Slums in Jaipur

Jaipur, known as the Pink City, is a very beautiful city with many palaces and historic buildings, however it too has slums. Parva School was founded in 2007 with informal lessons teaching a handful of children to read and write and to do basic maths. There are now over 85 children who are taught in a small brick building by a full time teacher supported by volunteers and also a small cottage industry for the mothers to make bags and cards which are sold in the UK and France.

Slums in Nairobi

Mukuru is one of the biggest slums in Nairobi, It is estimated to be home to about 700,000 people. It stretches along the Nairobi Ngong River, situated on waste lands in the industrial area of the city between the Outer Ring Road and the North Airport Road and Mombasa Road.

Mukuru slum, as any other slum, has been faced by diverse challenges including crime, drug abuse, prostitution and other such issues that face slums all over the world, but the people of Mukuru have been able to continuously fight these challenges. This has enabled many improvements in the community.

In the slums whole families live, or at least survive, in tiny one-roomed corrugated iron shacks, measuring approximately three square meters. Very few homes have electricity and up to twenty families might share a communal water tap and latrine.

For more information visit these sites:

16 Heart breaking facts about life in India’s slums:

Slum Rehabilitation Authority

Health in Indian slums: inside Mumbai’s busiest public hospital. Carlin Carr, The Guardian, October 2015

Kevin McCloud. Channel 4 documentary: Slumming It (2010)

African Slum Journal

The Mukuru slum: a lesson in inequality. Oxfam blog 2014