Foldscope at Bombay Dharavi

Dear Dr. Manu Prakash,

I’m Dipali Kadam from Bombay Dharavi, India. I’m studying in 10th grade at Shree Ganesh Vidya Mandir, Dharavi. I want to share some of memories, which are very close to my heart about foldscope. Dr. Manu Prakash, Dr. Shailja Gupta and some other people who made it happen.

Our family friend Kunal showed me foldscopes video of Dr. Manu Prakash on TED. The first thing that came in my mind is that bulky, heavy Microscope which I only heard about but couldn’t ever observed anything under it, because our school don’t have functional laboratory and we are studying science without it. The Microscope that I saw in that video just designed in sheet of paper with features as flexible, rigidness which is invented by very sweet person! After watching video, I decided to make it at home and to keep it in my school, so everyone in my school could explore it! I shared this thought with my teachers and lab assistant, but they didn’t show any interest in it. Months passed, but nothing innovative ever happened in my school. Education mere needs to go ahead, no one want to live the knowledge in our school, and that thing still hurts me, but school is necessary to us to take education. Days after days passed, but I couldn’t make my wish come true.

And suddenly magic happened as beautiful as fairy tale. Kunal came at our home as always, but this time something was really special; he gathered all of us, and the surprise was unrevealed. I and Kunal were going to fly to Delhi to attend foldscope’s workshop. Wasn’t it dream come true? I was flying in the air! That thing was very special to every one of us. Immediately we asked mother for permission. She was also proud of us, and she gave me permission to go to Delhi to attend India’s Fist Foldscope Workshop. I felt very proud of her to let me go because I’m the younger one in my siblings, and she is very concern about me.

The day came, 16th November, and we flew for Delhi. Finally, we reached there, but we couldn’t reach on time, and missed the beginning of workshop. It hurt me. As we reached, Dr. Shailja welcomed us. She is very nice person, as soon as she called Dr. Manu Prakash, and it was something unbelievable when I saw him. I was thrilled and damn excited to meet him, even Dr. Shailja caught those rare emotions. We started workshop in a group. I enjoyed lot with group members specially those three doctors from Maharashtra, whom I didn’t know before and, I don’t know their names yet. I thought Dr. Manu would be like other elders, but he was totally opposite of them. He is very childish like me. I felt very pampered with everyone there. That whole day was super excited, full of energy and enthusiasm. Dr. Shailja took me and Kunal outside to collect microorganisms. We observed Ant, leaf cells and, other micro cosmos in Workshop. That time, I had decided to observe and learn as much as I can; I was knowing that we can carry our foldscope with us. Now, I love biology branch, and I would love to write essay it if i’ll ask to write on “Your precious moments”.

I and my siblings, Sonali Kadam, Ruapali Kadam, Rupesh Kadam, and Kunal conducted workshop in our school. My classmates loved it. They were curious and excited about foldscope and, those teachers and lab assistant also loved it who couldn’t understand what I was willing to do with Foldscope. In workshop, some mates were observing plant cells, and some were observing their own cells. That experience was very different for them. They also want their own foldscope. I know this will take time, but it’ll happen soon.

Thank you so much Dr. Manu, Dr. Shailja, and all other who helped to made it happen. Dr. Manu, you promised me that you’ll come at my home. I’ll be waiting! We are extremely sorry for making you wait for feedback.

Dipali Kadam,

Bombay Dharavi, India.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. மொ. பாண்டியராஜன் says:

    It is use for your School Project Work.

  2. laksiyer says:

    @Dipali: Great to see that you had a workshop in Aamchi Mumbai. I am actually inspired by your spirit. It is time you start capturing foldscope pictures like you did above and post them on microcosmos. I loved your ant slide and Mumbai is a perfect place for microscopy. For each season there is something new to study. I hope you, your friends and siblings can show us how microscopy can be fun.

    Do you want any contact with Ruia? I will be happy to introduce you to my Microbiology professors… they are wonderful people. Will get your email id from Manu if you are interested in following up.

    Best Laks

    1. iKunal0209 says:

      Hello Laks,
      I’m Kunal Kanase, communicating with you on behalf of Dipali. She was busy in her Board Exam so couldn’t contacted to you. Now, she is free and taking Foldscope workshop at Dharavi Diary, a slum innovation project of which are part of. She is willing to meet professors at Ruia College as it’s her dream college. Her elder sister completed her junior college in Ruai College. So she want to introduce Foldscope at Ruia College. You can further contact to Sonali Kadam, elder sister of Dipali to get connect with Professors of Ruai College.
      As Sonali Kadam is a student of Biotechnology Engineering, she would love to meet & introduce Foldscope at Ruia College with her sister.

      Name: Sonali Kadam
      College: K.I.T.’s College of Engineering, Kolhapur.
      Address: Dharavi, Mumbai, India.
      Email address:
      Contact Number: (+91)8898917180

  3. iKunal0209 says:

    @Laksiyer: Please stay connected on

  4. Manu Prakash says:

    Dear @Dipali and @Kunal,

    It’s a post like this that truly reminds me why we do what we do. It’s a prime example of “multiplier effect” where you are taking something that you have access to and bringing it to others. I am very proud of your work – specially since we only got to spend a day in Delhi.

    As @Laks mentioned; Foldscope is a journey. As an individual; you should share everyday explorations. Don’t worry about it being good or Ok data; it’s most important to communicate regularly and shape your thinking. You will start realizing; that “small Discoveries” will start occurring instantaneously – and it’s best to share these insights. This is the first group from Mumbai; so life forms of Mumbai are at your disposal 🙂

    A simple framework could be – one picture of place where sample was collected from; several images with the Foldscope and your discussion. If you don’t have a cellphone; you can draw what you see. Since I know you are incredible artist 🙂 it would be so fantastic to actually generate paintings based on what you see. Once you refine this process; you can also teach others.

    I am incredibly proud of this work – tell us all we can do to support this at Dharavi. You can imagine Dharavi has so many kids; how can we enable them to share the work with everyone around the world.

    Can’t wait to read the next post.


  5. laksiyer says:

    Dear @Kunal. I have written to Prof. Phadke and his wife, my teachers at Ruia, and fantastic individuals and teachers. Today many of my friends are in the sciences because of them. I am sure they will be happy to meet you. Let them revert to the email I sent them and we can go from there. Hope to see more posts from Dipali and the foldscope team at Dharavi. You shall hear from me soon.

    1. iKunal0209 says:

      Hi Lacks,
      I’m glad and excited. Dipali and Sonali would love to meet them. Please cc email to Sonali as she is in Dharavi for vacation, and I’m out of town for Engineering Exams. Now, they have 2 Foldscopes with them and can carry to Ruia College to show them. We’ll post about recent workshop of Foldscope at Dharavi Diary soon. Many Thanks!

  6. laksiyer says:

    Dear Kunal: I have forwarded their mobile details to Sonali’s gmail account. I understand the college closes on May 2nd, so please meet them before that. They are really great teachers and most importantly good listeners, you will enjoy meeting them.

    1. iKunal0209 says:

      Yes, they will try to meet on April 29, 2016. This is a huge privilege for them. They will be more than happy to meet them.
      I have read about professors online. Thank you so much for connecting us with such a wonderful teachers. It will help them to get best guidance under them. As such things don’t usually happen with us due to living in underprivileged community in Dharavi. Dipali is not even getting good quality education at her school and despite that she is studying online and using resources like Khan Academy, edX,, etc. to excel in academics. I also completed my schooling in same school. But internet is connecting us with such a wonderful persons like you, Manuji and Professors at Ruia. This is incredible for us!
      May the light of knowledge and guidance from you illuminate our path!
      Manvandana to all of you. _/\_

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