Spotting foreigners in the slums of Mumbai is not an unusual sight as people know that they are trying to capture the life there. Foreign tourists are always in search of new experiences and seeing them live in the slums of Mumbai should not come as a surprise. 32-year-old David Bijl, who works for an NGO in Mumbai came up with the idea of ‘Slum Homestays’ after he met Ravi Sansi, a slum-dweller in whose home he stayed for the night.
David Bijl came up with the idea after he met Ravi Sansi who used to sell maps on the streets of Mumbai. After Google maps made his work of selling maps redundant, Ravi was hired by the same non-profit organisation where David works.
Seeing Ravi Sansi’s economic constraints in his residence but knowing that the hospitality of his home and their economics of space would be a welcoming presence for tourists, David decided to put Slum Homestays in motion. Travellers enjoy interacting with the local community and David believes that the slum stay will appeal to people who travel to learn something.
A night at Sansi’s place will cost around ₹2000 and the entire amount will go to the host family. Two foreign tourists will get to live with the family in an upper attic freshly created for them. The room boasts of a new mattress, flat screen TV, and an air conditioner. Coming to food, the guests can opt for the meal cooked by the family or eat at a nearby restaurant.
David has even started a Facebook page called ‘Slum Homestay Mumbai’ and uploaded pictures of the slums to give an idea to the tourists of what they’re likely to experience. Also, a picture of Ravi and his family were posted on the page.
With formats like Airbnb already catching up with travel needs and experiences, the concept of Slum Homestays no doubt takes the idea further.