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Celebrating 10 Years in Dharavi

On January 4, 2016 Reality Tours and Travel celebrated 10 years of working in Dharavi. To mark the occasion, we’ve created a video that looks at the different ways in which we have impacted some of the lives of the tens of thousands of people who have been a part of our story.

As a responsible business, we value all of our stakeholders equally: our local community, our staff, our program participants and our tour guests.  Our organisation doesn’t exist purely for our guests on tour or even the students in Reality Gives’ programs. Instead, we place importance on any group that comes in contact with our organisation. By strengthening all of our stakeholders, we strengthen our organisation and make progress towards our mission. This has been the key to our success over the past 10 years and will be the key to our success over the next 10 years.

We started our educational tours of Dharavi 10 years ago with a two-fold mission: to help our guests gain a better understanding of life and work in underprivileged communities and to simultaneously raise funds for local development projects. We use 80% of the tour profits to fund our sister-NGO Reality Gives which runs education and extra-curricular programs in Dharavi. Now, ten years on, we’re taking a moment to look at the impact we’ve had over the past decade.

Our tours of Dharavi raise awareness and build understanding of underprivileged areas while simultaneously boosting the pride and self-esteem of local residents. We closely track the impact of the tour through our post-tour feedback form. After nearly 10,000 responses, we’ve learned that 85% of our guests say that their perception of life in slums was changed (and 13% already had an accurate idea). And 75% of our guests say that the experience and our social business model have inspired them to take action, either with us or in their community. We work to channel and distribute the wealth of resources and connections these visitors bring with them to either Reality Gives or our partners across Dharavi.

Since we were founded 10 years ago, Reality Tours has generated $150,000 for Reality Gives. This has allowed Reality Gives to provide quality education programs and extra curricula activities for over 6,000 young people from Dharavi. They also use the funding to provide teacher training courses and to develop culturally relevant, high quality textbooks for our English courses in Dharavi.

The organisation itself provides employment and training for locals. We currently have 45 local staff between Reality Tours and Reality Gives. Many of our office staff are graduates of Reality Gives programs.