A slum dweller family has imbibed the 'Atithi Devo Bhava' in full spirit as it proposed an idea of slum homestay in Mumbai.
This opportunity would be especially for foreign tourists, who want to gain a closer perspective of the slum life of the city.
Ravi Tonia Sansi, along with his family of 16 members, has made this arrangement in their small house of 12*6 feet at Golibar area of Santacruz.
In order to accommodate the guests, they have built another room adjacent to their house. Apart from this, they have also re-furbished the room on the first floor. This room has been equipped with a mattress, a big flat screen TV and a window air-conditioner.
The hosts aim to provide a real feeling to the tourists of living in a Mumbai slum. The idea has been proposed by David Bijil, a native of Netherlands who supervises the NGO where Ravi Tonia works. He himself got a chance to experience the hospitality of the 'Tonia' family and being impressed upon, he decided to use it to help the family to eke out a living.
Speaking on the same, David said, "This initiative can help them financially. It is also help to create a connection between two groups of people- poor and high class. This is not about idealising slums. Living in slums is difficult. t is valuable to show how people live here."
Initially, the family used to sell maps to the tourists at Mumbai streets which got negatively affected due to the development of GPS navigation system.
Ravi Tonia initially refused to charge any money saying that he doesn't need any money; they don't have surplus money but whatever they have is enough for basic subsistence.
Though, on the insistence of David Bijli, the family agreed to charge Rs. 2000 per day to allow the tourists to stay at their home in lieu of the facilities.