Our guides are all from humble backgrounds and are keen and fun to interact with.
Before doing any tour, they have extensive training. They also all speak excellent English .
Unlike other tour operators, they work for and are employed by us only, which ensures that the quality of the tours is maintained.
Jeetesh moved from Mangalore with his family to Mumbai when he was 1 year old. Working as a Reality Tours guide has been his first job, but Jeetesh also studies part time. He first heard about Reality Gives from an uncle who knew Krishna.
Jeetesh lives in Chembur and commutes to either Churchgate or Mahim, depending on the tours he's giving that day. Because Jeetesh lives in a slum as well, he liked the idea of a job where he could show slum area to others.
Jeetesh is ambitious, and hopes to get a great percentage in his commerce course which would allow him to try for an MBA. He loves non-veg food, spicy snacks and playing cricket.
Akshay is from Mumbai, and lives in Kandivali with his parents and adopted sister. At 18 years old, Akshay is both the youngest and newest of the Reality Tours guides.
Before becoming a guide, Akshay worked several different jobs. He has been an accountant in a glass company, a server in Baskin and Robbins icecream shop, and finally a salesman in a wallpaper shop. Apart from working, Akshay likes to read. He’s been with Reality Tours since November 2010, and does a number of tours including Dharavi, sightseeing and bicycle.
Dinesh lives near the Dhobi Ghat (open air laundry) in Mahalaxmi, and stays there with parents and sister. His family is orginally from Mangalore.
Dinesh used to do folk dancing in 5 star hotels but gave that up to work at Reality- he enjoys spending time with people from abroad as well as working for an organisation doing social work. In the future he would like to set up an organisation which also helps the community.
He plans to get married after he's 25, and while waiting for that to happen, enjoys listening to music
Chetan was born in Goregaon, Mumbai and now lives in Wadala with his family including 2 brothers
Another busy man, Chetan is in his final year studying Management Studies, as in the future he wants to be a businessman. He would love to combine business with his passion for sports, his favourites being squash, cricket and pool.
Manoj was born in Mumbai, although his family is from Delhi. On the "Where is better- Mumbai or Delhi?" debate, he diplomatically says that they are both great, although Delhi is better in Winter. He goes back there every year.
Manoy enjoys working at Reality because he gets to practise his English, and in the future he wants to be a hairdresser and tattoo designer either in the UK or Switzerland- because in both these places the people are great. He says that with such a job, he would be able to support his mother and father properly in the future. He currently lives in Mahalaxmi with them.
Rakesh was born and currently lives in Malad with his family, who are from Mangalore. Previous jobs include working as a supervisor at Mahalaxmi Race course.
He loves spending time with friends playing cricket and watching movies. His ambition is to eventually run own restaurant- serving South Indian food- mostly vegetarian.
What he loves about his job is meeting different kinds of people and learning about different cultures.
Nilesh lives in Mahalaxmi with parents, 2 brothers and sister- he's the youngest of the family; he is at his final year at school.
In his spare time he likes surfing the internet, having fun with friends and watching comedy movies. Also he likes indoor games like carrom (Indian came), and he claims to be a World Master at chess.
In the future he wants to be a Radio Jockey, hopefully at his favourite station 93.5FM. In the meantime, he really enjoys his job because he gets to know more about Mumbai and is well paid.
His favourite food is butter chicken.
Suraj lives in Matunga Labour Camp, in Dharavi, with his parents and elder sister. He is in his Bcom final year at University.
Suraj is a tug of war player for Maharasthra- as anchorman- and his team won a bronze medal for 2011/12. Suraj's dream is to play for India at tug of war. He is also a wrestler.
He also likes to watch his movies, such a 3 Idiots and Slumdog Millionaire. His favourite food is Punjabi and Gujurati, and his favourite snack is dhokla.
He likes the job because he enjoys communicating with people.
Naynish Ashok Salvi
Naynish lives in Kurla with his parents and two older sisters. He's born and raised up in Mumbai, his parents are from the Konkan coast in Maharashtra.
He used to work at Vodafone and then he started to study at the ITI (Industrial Training Institute) but dropped out in the second year. Then he heard from a relative about Reality Tours and Travel and got to know Krishna through him. He started to wotk with Reality Tours in November 2012.
He says that even he didn't know that Dharavi is such a well-organised industrial area and he is proud to show that to his guests. "In 2.5hrs you can become really good friends with the customers and you get to know so many different nationalities. Also it feels good to get such a big responsibility - I enjoy that a lot", says Naynish.
He hopes for his future to get a backoffice job at a company. And if that doesn't work out, he wants to go to his village and start a restaurant as cooking is his actual passion.
Sagar was born in Andra Pradesh but moved with his family to Mumbai when he was in the third grade. He likes Mumbai much better he says but that's because his friends are here.
He currently studies his Bachelor of Commerce but his dream is to become a sound engineer in the future. Why? Because he is a DJ by passion. Like his friend Subhash he is a member of "The Slumgods" and puts on dubstep, Hip-Hop and Tribal. He loves also to just produce beats, to breakdance and hang around with his friends from the Slumgods.
Sagar lives with his parents and two brothers in Santa Cruz East.
Siddhi belongs to the Mahalakshmi-gang of Reality Tours and Travel. Like Nilesh, Dinesh and Manoj he lives in the neighborhood of Dhobi Ghat with his parents and 11 year old sister. We had luck getting him as he was on a way to a job interview at a mobile phone shop when his best friend Nilesh called him to come to Dharavi to meet RTT's founder Krishna. He dropped everything and rushed to the slum as he heard so many great things about being a tour guide at Reality Tours from his friends.
The 20 year old student just finished his Junior College years and studies bachelor of commerce currently. He doesn't know yet in which direction he wants to go but he is very interested in science and engineering.
"The best thing about working as a tour guide in Dharavi is to show people also the bright side of a slum. It's great to see them realizing that it's totally different than they expected", says Siddhi.
Bipin is 22 years old and one of the unlucky guides who has to travel more than 1.5 hrs to get to work as he lives behind Thane with his family.
Bipin got to know about Reality Tours through a newspaper advertising and it came to him at a perfect time because he wasn't happy at his old job. He used to do face-to-face marketing on the streets but his salary was paid in provision. For his future he says that he wants to do his MBA and then start his own business. It can be even small, he just wants to have his own company.
"I really like the social aspect of the tours. My grandfather was a social worker and helped a lot of people and my family is very religious. Therefore I think helping others is in my blood and I'm happy I have found a job which helps my family but also people in need."
Sunmohan Rajlu alias Sunny
Sunny lives his name - he likes to laugh and smile. The 20 year old student lives also in Thane with his family and has to travel very long for work. He used to work at an online shopping centre in night shifts and his health suffered a lot in this time. That's why he applied at Reality Tours after reading a newspaper advertising.
After starting with Reality Tours in November not just his health became better but also his English skills improved as well as his ability to speak clear and free. He is very proud of this development.
In his free time he works as a DJ on weddings, birthdays and other events. He says he isn't a professional but it's a lot of fun. He doesn't know yet what he wants to do in the future. For now he just hopes to finish his Bachelor of Commerce.
Akash found out about us through one of our former guides Subhash. They both stay in Dharavi and know each other from the group "Slum Gods" - a break dance and hip hop community in Dharavi. His dream is to become a world champion in breakdancing. He will even perform at the Kala Ghoda cultural festival in Colaba, Mumbai soon.
Akash has been a Youth Empowerment Program student at the Reality Gives Community Centre three years back and is very thankful for the acquired English skills he can use now as a tour guide. He likes his new job as he meets a lot of people from different parts of the world.
Daya is 19 years old and thus one of the youngest guides at Reality Tours. He is also one of the guides who has to travel fathest as he lives far behind Thane in the north of Mumbai with his mother. His father is a Hindu from Rajasthan, his mother is catholic but he says he is not religious.
Daya studies Bachelor of Commerce and has a precise plan for his future: he wants to study a master in PR and advertising and then work for a international company. Before working for Reality Tours he used to work at a call center. He works very hard and has very less time for his hobbies soccer, English movies and Hip Hop. When he gets some time off he also likes to take his mum shopping.
OTHER MEMBERS OF STAFF
Evelyn D'Souza, Tour operations manager
Evelyn is our continually smiling Tour operations manager, who you will be in contact with when you book a tour.
Evelyn comes from a small village outside Mangalore called Beltangady. She likes to listen to music, reading and swimming. When she has some spare time, she loves to sit on the sea shore and watch the waves for hours!
Asim Shaikh, Reception Centre and Tour Guide Manager
Asim is our incredible Reception Centre Manager/ Community Centre manager/ Tour Guide manager/ Tour guide. He started at Reality as a part time computer teacher in November 2009 and has taken on more and more responsibility.
He loves his work because he interacts with the kids, it is challenging and he is never bored because there is always something new to do and learn. In the future, he can't see himself working anywhere else. Asim is particular grateful to Lee from Atma (NGO partner) for introducing him to Reality and to Jonny for being his guide and mentor.
Asim was born in Antop Hill in Mumbai, and still lives there with his wife and parents, plus 2 younger brothers.
Stephanie Hays, CEO
Stephanie started at the beginning of 2013 as the new CEO of Reality Tours to replace Chris. She studied Tourism in London after she lived for two years in Shanghai teaching English. After she finished her masters, she worked as a marketing executive for an adventure tour operator in London. She travelled to India before and just fell in love with this fascinating country.
"I love my new job at Reality Tours because I can work in the field of tourism but I still know it's for a good cause. We can actually create a change for the community we work in", says Steph. "I wanted to be challenged when I moved to India and it's indeed difficult but I love the adventure."
At this point the entire Reality Tours and Travel Team would also like to say a warm hello to Steph's mum in Tennessee, USA as she was waiting for this update to finally happen for so long!
Uday Pujari, Senior Accounts Manager
Uday was born and brought up in Karnataka and has been in Mumbai for 5 years. He loves yoga, cricket, volleyball and swimming.
He enjoys reading up about the various religions and once a year he becomes a swami- when he dresses in black, can't wear footwear and can't talk to nor think about girls.
Mayur Parmar, Caretaker
Mayur is our non-stop caretaker of the Reception Centre, who never seems to spend more than 5 minutes in one place. He is the youngest member of staff, and also the most busiest, with a job description that can be described as 'varied'.
And he doesn't go home and rest after work. He's studying for his 12th Standard exams, as well as Tally (accounts program) and Desktop Application.
When he does have free time, no big surprise he likes to play some cricket, and in the future, he wants to be a software engineer.
He was born in Mumbai and stays in Dharavi with his family, originally from Gujurat.
Ramesh Poojary, Caretaker
Ramesh is our hardworking caretaker at the Reception Centre. Ramesh's family lives in Byandor and he visits them or they come to Mumbai every six months.
He enjoys watching Hindi and Kannada movies.
Adina Goerke, Marketing Director
Adina is a German Media Management graduate who joined us in September 2011. Besides doing the Marketing for Reality Tours and Travel, she is also responsible for the Marketing and Fundraising of our sister NGO Reality Gives.
Adina first came to Mumbai in November 2010 to intern with a film production company. After a lot of unsatisfying projects she decided to change her direction, although she didn’t really know what. That’s when she found Reality Tours and Travel and took the plunge to sign a 2-year contract.
She says as much as she misses Germany she loves India twice as much.
Krishna Pujari, Co-founder
Krishna is from a village in Karnataka called Heranjalu. When he was 13, he came to Mumbai to work in various restaurants and cafeterias. During these years, Krishna also attended night school until he passed his final school exams.
Krishna loves meeting people and taking them on our tours. His favourite comment is “Oh, that's nice!” He loves playing cricket when he has time.
Krishna is the glue between Reality Tours and our communities. He loves fish curry cooked by his Mum.
Chris Way, Co-founder
Chris is from the UK. He studied Business and Hispanic Studies at Birmingham University, and is a part-qualified chartered accountant.
Chris first came to India in 2002 to do four months of volunteer work at a school that served children living in a slum. When Chris had previously lived in Rio die Janeiro, Brazil, he had witnessed how tourism was beneficial for local communities. With this understanding, Chris relocated to India in 2004 to start the project that would become Reality Tours and Travel.
Chris does admit to missing the freshly cut grass and Sunday newspapers of Birmingham. He both loves and hates Mumbai's chaos, but insists that he wouldn't trade life here for a comfortable, yet predictable life in the UK. Nearly a local after so many years in Mumbai, Chris's favourite street food is pav bhaji. You can find him every weekend playing ultimate Frisbee in Mumbai's parks.