Teenage girl from Dharavi slum develops an app to educate underprivileged girls


Dharavi is the third largest slum in the world. It is not something to be proud about, but how some people from here improved their living conditions through their hard work is truly inspiring. Roshani Shaik is a young teenager who grew up here and is trying to help her friends here learn even when they couldn’t—she created an app that can teach them the fundamentals.


Dharavi Diary is an NGO that was started by Mr Nawneet Ranjan, a social entrepreneur and filmmaker, to enhance the skills of the people living in this area so that they can be much more than rag pickers. Many children are part of this NGO and 17 years old Roshani Shaik is one of them —the efforts put in by the NGO are clearly evident through this girl’s work.

Her story caught attention when she spoke at TEDxDharavi held at Maharashtra Nature Park back in February this year. Roshani said that she and two other girls developed the app and named it Padhai. The app explains the fundamentals in Hindi, English, and Mathematics. The alphabet and basic vocabulary are included in the languages and Mathematics will teach the basic arithmetic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. But aren’t they already supposed to know all of this? Well, Roshani explains how most children, mostly girls, in her community do not attend schools, either because they don’t like to study or because their parents refuse to send them to schools. The girls instead do household chores and Roshani thinks this app will let them learn in their free time. There is an additional feature to Call A Doctor.


Roshani is currently studying class 11 Arts in MD College, Parel and adds that if it hasn’t been for Dharavi Diary’s creative teaching techniques, she wouldn’t have been interested in studying; her two elder sisters dropped out after their schooling was over. She is really thankful to the NGO’s project and says how she can now not only use a computer, but also teach in it. She did something that people her age wouldn’t have done and she didn’t even have that many resources. Surely we can at least try to stop procrastinating!