Nawneet is a documentary filmmaker who uses his storytelling to bring about social change. In 2011, Nawneet visited Dharavi – one of the world’s largest slums with over one million people packed into its labyrinth of dark alleys. Nawneet made a film showing the grueling difficulties of everyday life through the eyes of its residents. After a successful release of the film, Nawneet decided to take his efforts one step further – he wanted to empower the community’s residents to become change makers.
Nawneet is a firm believer in the power of technology to engage communities and mobilize their efforts to serve larger problems. In 2014, Nawneet launched Dharavi Diary: A Slum Innovation Project; the program uses technology to create products that ease life for Dharavi residents or inspire advancement in society. For example, girls in Dharavi are learning an increasingly in-demand skill: coding. Girls are developing mobiles apps that directly address major concerns within the slum, such as lack of a clean water, sanitation, and even sexual assault. While developing their technology skills, they are making their communities safer and building their confidence in the process. Moreover, they are showing that slum residents are capable of solving critical issues when given the tools and opportunity.