In this article, we will mention a fairly developing, paradoxical, and at the same time promising type of tourism. The alternative type of tourism “Poorism” is created by combining two words, poor & tourism that includes tours or living in underdeveloped areas and specifically in areas where residents live on the edge of poverty. An estimated 900 million people around the world live in slums with unhealthy shelters with problematic water, sewerage networks, and minimal education.
This type of tourism begins the Victorian period when the upper class living in Victorian London traveled to the East End of London to observe and exemplify how the lower class lived. Later, in the early 1990s, Poorism was developed in Africa by Nelson Mandela’s followers who wanted to see how the country’s municipalities were gradually evolving. In modern history, there is increased interest and participation in “Poorism” programs as there has been an aversion of travelers from the rich and luxurious resorts with artificial nature to the real and at the same time unknown world around us.
Today there are hundreds of tours of Poorism around the world and in some countries where people are struggling with economic recovery, it is a mean of income. In most cases, the tours aim to raise the awareness of the participants and aim at their contribution to the respective region.
But what are the most popular Poorism destinations?
#1 Darawi, Mumbai, India
Dharavi district of Mumbai is considered one of the largest slums in Asia. Some poorists (= travelers for Poorism) are surprised by the recycling factories in the area and the living conditions of the citizens. As with all Poorism excursions, you can feel humiliated by the fact that people are productive and seemingly happy with the meager goods that a Western citizen could not embrace.
For better living conditions and better quality of life, Dharavi residents move from 10 years old to larger cities searching for jobs or any way to survive, especially in garbage collection and recycling.
#2 Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya & Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa
Some parts of Africa have been suffering from malnutrition, water shortages, education, and more for many years. In the slum of Kayelitsa, the living conditions are frightening. In order for the citizens to find clean water, they need to walk at least 200 meters, creating problems mainly in their personal hygiene, cooking, and irrigation.
Similarly, in Kibera, Africa’s largest slum, the quality of life is at its lowest levels. Only a quarter of students can afford to attend an educational institution and the salary ranges from 1-2 € per day with limited water and electricity. Moreover, in the slums of Africa, many citizens suffer from chronic diseases, transmitted or not.
#3 Orangi Town, Karachi, Pakistan
The third most popular “Poorism” area is located in Pakistan and specifically in an area of Karachi city, Orangi Town. The annual salary per person is about 1700 €, an amount that makes you think that the daily life of citizens is very difficult to even for basic needs. As a large percentage of residents live in shacks or makeshift houses, a bathroom is not a room that exists in many families resulting in all kinds of sewage in public places and at the same time, it contributes to the spread of diseases such as cholera within communities.
If you want to help the above areas you can become a volunteerist (= volunteer traveler) by really contributing to each community. It is better to contribute voluntarily to these three destinations than to observe them and not offer. Take a minute and think about your daily life then compare it with a resident of the above areas. I am sure that you understand that they really need your help!