The project was started by filmmaker Nawneet Ranjan in 2014. His connection to the neighborhood goes back to 2012 when he shot a documentary film called Dharavi Diary on life in the slum. The documentary focused on various issues faced by the slum residents, and was screened at festivals around the world.
In 2014, after noticing that female children and young girls in the neighborhood face additional disadvantages due to social barriers, Ranjan felt compelled to move to Dharavi from San Francisco out of where he was based. Worried that their unfavorable circumstances had caused children in the neighborhood to lose aspirations and ambition, he sought to persuade them of the potential power of technology in changing the long-existing status quo.
Ranjan set up a computer lab in 2014 to teach the children how to code, using the open source tool MIT App Inventor, as well as taking help from online video tutorials. The girls were also introduced to Technovation Challenge, a global technology entrepreneurship program that invites teams of girls from around the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve problems through technology.
Exam season! Busy day at the center, everybody learning/teaching.. #dharavi #mumbai #sluminnovation #community #studytogether #groupstudy #like4like #likes4likes #follow4followback #follow4follow #children #india #instagram #instamood #instamoment #instamumbai #slum #kids #ngo #help #future #young #youth #science #math #robot
Among the many apps built by the young girls is Andoid app Women Fight Back, which aims at making women in the city feel safer with features such as SMS alerts, location mapping and the ability to place emergency calls to contacts. Other innovative apps include the Padhai (Studies) app, which offers lessons and tutorials for those who cannot go to school, and the Paani hai Jeevan (Water is Life) app, which seeks to address water scarcity and management problems by streamlining the water collection process from the neighborhood tap. Another app in the making will enable people to report cases of child labour. Along similar lines, most of the apps built from the program cater to problems faced by the young girls and other residents of Dharavi.
Dharavi Diary An Ngo set up amidst the slum community of Dharavi. It was started with 15-20 children in the beginning but now has a strength of 150-200 children coming to the centre to study various subjects like English, Science, Computer, Maths, Social Sciences and other interactive lessons like Theatre, Drama etc. The NGO promotes girls' education and also uplifts the status of children by making them computer literate in the World of Globalisation. In the picture:- Kids pose for a photograph on Plantation Day. #dharavi #instagram #mumbai #like4like #likes4likes #follow4follow #follow4followback #sluminnovation #empowerment #education #trees #children #discovernh #follow4follow #follow4followbackalways
When parts of the slum, including property belonging to the project, were destroyed by a fire in January 2016, Ranjan and his students organized a successful crowd funding program to raise money for reconstruction.