Conversations about health, hyigene, sanitation and re-development in the heart of Asia's largest Slum - Dharavi. Part of PPT's longest running documentation project as well as social outreach programs.
For 3 months at SNEHA’s Dharavi based centre, Team PPT worked with over 25 youth and women from the area to build an unique story to tell about Dharavi. It was an uphill task from the first day of the workshop. Coming from a background where conversations about personal hygiene and sanitation rarely take place, the first few weeks was spent with the participants interacting as much as possible with Team PPT and building a rapport with all of them. The images we wanted to create as part of the workshop had to be intimate and personal, introspecting on issues of the slums through their perspective, through their door way and their eyes. For this it was important to make the camera a part of their daily life. PPT employed a range of modules to make them comfortable in photography, sharing and conversing. It was also a way for them to learn about issues and how to tackle them.
To keep the workshop engaging and increase mental stimulation of the participants, the workshops focused on three key elements:
Keeping the participants engaged was one of the most important tasks at hand. A mix of learning through participation and sharing was initiated. The students were divided into small groups who would work together each week on assignments and help each other with any difficulties with the camera. The groups made were a mix of young adolescent girls, teenagers and older women. This ensured that there are no divisions in the workshops and different age groups worked together and interacted on photography assignments
thus breaking usual barriers and forging
new relationships that would usually not be possible.
Each week the participants and their respective groups were given themes to shoot on. The themes were given to build confidence in the participants to use their cameras so that they confidently wield and use the camera in public spaces and their communities. Themes ranged from shooting how people stored water in Dharavi to the local public toilets (or lack thereof) to weddings and festivals and soon moved to families and more personal subjects. The focus of the assignments was to get the students to start shooting their immediate surroundings and use the camera lens as a new perspective for their own problems and issues.
The crux of the entire program was to get the youth and women talking about issues of health and sanitation. To encourage more conversations, participants were asked to explain the thought process behind their photos or how they felt about their own pictures or other participant pictures. After the first few sessions where participants where apprehensive about public speaking, they slowly opened up to share beautiful snippets of life, anecdotes from their daily life in dharavi and almost all pertaining in some way to health and sanitation. After a month and a half, not just their pictures but they themselves were speaking a story not many had heard of.
"Sudharak and the PPT team were dedicated to teaching youth living in Dharavi the art andskill of photography. They spent entire days mentoring them with sincerity, patience, and encouragement. I really appreciated how diverse their team was and how professional each one was -- it was a brilliant learning opportunity for their students".
The 3 months intnesive workshop sessions brought to light many issues inside the slums and in the lives of the workshops participants, giving us images we had never seen before. An intimate collection of moments of Dharavi by the people who stay there. The documentation, its confidence building approach and participatory learning methods helped SNEHA identify tagret issues. They, then mounted a very beautiful represenatation of the life in Dharavi using the images and creating an art installation plus awarness model right in the heart of the slums.
As a non-profit, all resources go towards funding workshops and other educational/documentation activities. You can donate any amount to support our different projects or invite us to conduct workshops for you or your institute. We are also looking for long-term funding to mount national projects in communities across the country.