The Dharavi Dream Project Wins the TSS Women Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the TiE Sustainability Summit
Mumbai: The Dharavi Dream Project (TDDP) has won the prestigious TSS Women Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The award was presented to co-founder Dolly Rateshwar at the 2021 TiE Sustainability Summit, a venture by TiE Global — the largest non-profit organisation devoted to enabling entrepreneurship in the sustainability ecosystem. Under Rateshwar’s innovative leadership, TDDP has evolved from a small room of 5 students to a bustling hip-hop school (the largest in Asia) of 133 artists in Dharavi, Mumbai. The institute scaled operations even further in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, solidifying its presence in 6 countries virtually (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Dubai and Canada), while also taking all its classes online. Since then, 847 students from around the world have attended the lessons in session at TDDP’s virtual school. This number only keeps growing.
Says Dolly Rateshwar,
“Entrepreneurship is the epitome of vulnerability and courage; Dharavi, as a place, personifies both. The TSS Social Enterprise Awards recognise businesses that focus on social impact by creating a tangible change in society and communities, as well as those that set an example by leading from the frontlines — social entrepreneurs who’ve leveraged their business processes, innovation and technology to solve problems defined in the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). I’m grateful TDDP was awarded under this category as managing and growing an organisation in Dharavi is no mean feat. You can expect to deal with many unplanned physical and emotional challenges here where daily life is defined by varied human struggles. The TSS Women Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award is hence special for each one of us at TDDP as it validates years of hard work, resource-building and resilience.”
Rateshwar, the co-founder of TDDP, was bestowed with this distinguished honour on October 6th. At the TiE Sustainability Summit, Rateshwar spoke of the linguistic diversity of Indian hip-hop that’s particularly reflected at TDDP, alongside the resilience and grit of the artists sparking a revolution in the country. She also shared at length about her experience at the MIT media lab; how there she spearheaded the discovery of young innovators and here, the discovery of young talent. The former MIT, Google, LinkedIn, Deloitte and Tesseract alumnus received the honour on behalf of TDDP in the presence of 25,000+ global entrepreneurs from 50+ countries and other dignitaries including global policymakers and government representatives.
Adds Dolly Rateshwar,
“I would like to dedicate this award to TDDP’s co-founder, Samir Bangara’s, memory.
His vision for TDDP has come full circle and we hope to continue to build on the visionary blueprint he laid down. I would also like to dedicate this award to MC Heam. He’s been a lighthouse of strength and guidance to all TDDP, especially for each talent. He’s taught us all so much without expecting a single penny in return. Needless to say, each and everyone involved to date — be it behind the scenes or on the frontlines — has our immense gratitude for their contribution to TDDP. Universal Music Group has also been one of the strongest pillars at TDDP, particularly Devraj Sanyal, who has been a rock to the team and empowered every artist at the school. Each talent of ours is a testimony to the collective spirit and grit of Dharavi; they’re changemakers in their own right who’re revolutionising the ongoing history of hip-hop! Thank you for supporting us.”
Since its inception in 2013, TDDP has rendered 50+ live showcases, including performances at prestigious platforms such as Rolling Stone India and Qyuki’s Haq Se Hindustan concert, the MAMI film festival, the Ziro Festival, the YouTube Music Launch and many more. 50% of these gigs were paid as TDDP also aims at enabling a sustainable future for their talent. A school for under-resourced hip-hop artists, TDDP is often touted as constituting the future of Indian hip-hop. The students of TDDP continue to carve their mark in India’s diverse hip-hop scene — an expansive space that sees artists from all walks of life put their truth to words, throwing open the gates to a once elusive music landscape — with landmark releases such as the COVID-19 anthem “Kar Dikhaya!” and the 2020 version of “One Love,” Bob Marley’s iconic song that was reimagined by the Marley family, featuring TDDP, in support of UNICEF’s response to the pandemic. Empowered by the TSS Women Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, TDDP will continue to nurture and support a sustainable and historic Indian hip-hop landscape.