Unheard Voices is a storytelling platform aimed at highlighting the aspirations of migrant women workers. Their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mumbai, one of the hotspots of the virus speaks about the systemic challenges that they faced in accessing opportunities. It highlights the socio-economic and cultural barriers that women, especially migrant women workers face in India’s “commercial capital”. This is a repository of their aspirations in life to mobilize necessary support for the community with grassroots partnerships.
The fieldwork of this project is done in collaboration with Khaana Chahiye Foundation (translation: Need food?), a Mumbai-based non-profit organization in India. The community that the fieldwork is focused on is located in the Indira Nagar Slums, Reay Road, Mumbai—An erstwhile spot for Mumbai’s mills and factories. Today, it’s mainly known for the century-old station on the Mumbai Suburban Rail network (famously known as Mumbai’s local trains). The Mumbai Port Trust hosts their silos here but a community has settled in Reay Road over the past three decades. Unheard Voices incorporates qualitative stories of the women in the community bringing them together in the form of interviews, recordings, and demographic visualizations. Through Unheard Voices, I have highlighted some of the many narratives of resilient women in the secluded corners of the city. This project is an attempt to present the communities of Mumbai that are often hidden by the glitz and glamour of the commercial and entertainment capital of India.