Posts Tagged ‘teamwork’

Made in Dharavi – Geographers head to Mumbai

We travelled to Mumbai, India, as part of our final year here at QMUL Geography – and here’s a bit more about the project we undertook exploring the economy that underpins one of the world’s largest slums, Dharavi.

For our project in India, my group conducted research on Dharavi’s leather industry and how leather is a local and global commodity. Dharavi is widely known as the largest slum in Mumbai, but less people know about the economic activity that occurs there!

 

Leather sheets in a factory

Leather sheets in one of the many factories in Dharavi

 

For the first part of our project, a tour guide took us around Dharavi, where we had the chance to go to various factories and see the leather production process in action. Most of the leather production process occurs in Dharavi, excluding tanning, due to the fact it is very polluting. The factories create the raw materials through several stages, and then the raw material is used to make leather products such as belts, wallets and bags.

 

Leather sheets

Leather sheets

 

After our tour of the slum, we were driven ten minutes down the road to Megha’s office, owner of Dharavi Market. Her company sells leather products, amongst many other items such as clothes, jewellery and clay pots, made by craftsmen living in Dharavi. The website aims to promote the work of people living and working in the slum and demonstrate that Dharavi is full of economic activity. She told us that ‘the whole point is to make Dharavi more visible, provide a platform and I want to make it more mainstream where regular people…who have this perception of the slum being this notorious area… I want to change that attitude and mind-set’. Furthermore, she explained that she also wants to improve Dharavi in many ways through her website – ”It’s not just going to be returns in terms of more business but also social good, so improve the lifestyle, the whole final aim would be to improve the living conditions [of Dharavi]”.

 

Dharavi Market (http://www.dharavimarket.com)

Dharavi Market (http://www.dharavimarket.com)

 

The people that make the products upload photos of their products to an Android app. After approving the items, Megha sells it online to international buyers. She explained that ‘it’s nice for them to know that people around the world are buying from them’. If you’re in need of some new products, her website is www.dharavimarket.com. You can choose from a wide range of commodities, while benefitting people living in Dharavi. They have a Facebook page too so make sure to check it out!

 

Megha Gupta, owner of Dharavi Market

Megha Gupta, owner of Dharavi Market and our team

Perks of being a tree-hugger!

Sustainability of the environment is not a subject that should be taken lightly. The relationship between man and his environment is rocketing towards a non-existence. We should want to preserve our environment as it is crucial for the existence of the earth, every living being and for future generations. By the time I have finished writing this post, I’m sure my propaganda will have swayed itself into your subconscious and you’ll wake up tomorrow morning wanting to become a tree-hugger.
The way the environmental science course is taught here at QMUL Geography relates immensely to what is occurring at this present time in the outside world. We are purposely taught to start reading scientific journals, articles etc, instead of out-dated text books. This was something that will get us in the habit of reading current event materials. The field trip to the mountains of Scotland I went on in my first year at Easter was the stuff of dreams – putting theory into practice has really helped consolidate my learning.

The following are pictures taken by myself from Scotland, in the Cairngorms field trip (first year) 2014.

Honestly speaking, this course wasn’t something I had always envisioned myself studying. It was something that came to me in my final year at college when I was in the process of applying to universities.  I wasn’t lucky enough to be one of those people who always knew what they wanted to be. And there are thousands of people who don’t know just like myself, so it takes a bit of experimenting to discover what interests you. After my departure from Scotland and by the end of my first academic year I have truly felt even more excited and am 100% content with my course.
I would love to voice my thoughts to the many people who doubt our ability to resolve and restore order within our environment.  It is natural habitats such as these with gorgeous scenery and therapeutic landscapes that bring us down to earth and makes us truly question the impact we have on our planet and inspires us to preserve it to the best of our ability.
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