Mumbai’s Dharavi has been one of the largest slums in the world. Living in this slum area are some intelligent teenager girl coders who are building apps to solve local problems. These girls aged between eight and sixteen form a part of Dharavi Dairy, a slum innovation project which was started by film maker Nawneet Ranjan in 2014.
They make use of the open source developing tool MIT App Inventor to build mobile apps that are efficient of solving everyday problems such as access to water and education, sexual harassment, etc.
Dharavi Diary runs using private funds raised by filmmaker Ranjan and his friends and non-profits like the United States Institute of Peach and Iridescent.
These girls have been living in difficult circumstances and have dreams and aspirations. Many have also been suffering abuse and domestic violence. Almost all of them face inequality as – ‘If there is one glass of milk in the house, the boy gets it.’ Filmmaker Ranjan aims to empower the girls with technology and knowledge so as to guide them to become change-makers.
Ranjan used the MIT App Inventor along with online video tutorials, documentary films and PowerPoint presentations to teach the girls the basics of coding. He brought them in contact with technology and gadgets like tablets and computers. The girls learnt really well and have created apps to tackle everyday problems such as the Android app Women Fight Back, which focuses on women’s safety and has features like SMS alerts, location mapping, distress alarm and emergency calls to contacts.
Some other significant apps include the Padhai app that has language lessons and other tutorials to educate girls who are denied going to schools and the Paani app that streamlines water collection for individual houses by setting up an online queue alerts telling people about their turn to fill water from common taps and tanks.
Dharavi Diary has changed the lives of many Mumbai slum girls like the 14-year-old Ansuja Madhiwal. Ansuja was raised by her mother after her father died in a road accident. She was depressed and had no hopes left but after building the Women Fight Back app, her confidence boosted up exponentially. Now she aspires to become a computer engineer.
She is just one example. There are several other girls whose lives have been transformed with filmmaker Ranjan’s initiative – Dharavi Diary. We wish them Good Luck for their future ventures and applications!
Article By: Ravinder