Improving lives in Asia’s largest slum – Dharavi
Gazing out of the car window thinking of how the day would pan out were the only thoughts on my mind. I had signed on to be a volunteer with GiveIndia and this was my first volunteering task. Morever, it was also one of the first visits I would be making to an NGO to spend time with the beneficiaries. My stomach was a bit queasy because of a mix of excitement and nervousness. Would I be comfortable speaking to them? Would they not shy away? Would I be able to deliver on the assignment? Next to me sat CORP’s (Community Outreach Progamme) Director, Mr Nirmal Chandappa. His effortless smile make me think that he could probably sense by queasiness. We drove through the city’s chock-a-block Saturday afternoon’s traffic quite quickly.
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How it all began
The journey of CORP (Community Outreach Program) began in the year 1976, with an American couple’s yearning to visit the slums of Mumbai. This couple was Mr. Jesse and Mrs. Molly Clement and the slum they visited was Dharavi. Little did they realize at that time that their simple walk through the slum’s ubiquitous poverty would change the lives of many people to come. They noticed kids under the age of five roaming around naked and playing in the dirt and filth of the open drains. This sight melted their hearts, but they thought empathy is not what these kids need. Thus began CORP’s first initiative in the form of a daycare centre.
A glimpse into the lives changed
What’s most impressive about CORP’s impact is that its beneficiaries from the slum go on to earn Rs. 15,000-30,000 a month, helping them to truely lead independent lives.