In this episode of Active Bangalore, RJ Usha speaks with Vishwa, who works with wastepickers through the NGO Hasirudala. He speaks about the lives of wastepickers, the benefits they receive through social security schemes and the upcoming programs that could further their welfare. Vishwa has helped stop a few instances of child marriages as well.
In Tumkur, close to 250 wastepickers have been identified by Hasirudala from three specific areas. Initially, the NGO workers studied and understood their lifestyles, following which, they are now in the process of changing those lifestyles for the better.
Hasirudala, in collaboration with the Mahanagara Palike, has facilitated the provision of identity cards to the waste workers. Now, the NGO is working with Poura Karmikas to keep all places free from waste. The wastepickers’ lives are changing, primarily as a result of their decision to not send their children to pick waste as well. They are being made aware of educational scholarships and most of their children have received their benefits. They have also been provided Aadhar cards and Ration cards. A BioGas Plant is in the works and is scheduled to be opened in the near future; these wastepickers will find additional job opportunities as a result.
As part of the NGO’s mission, the wastepickers are also being provided support and guidance in relation to their health.
One piece of happy news is that the Karnataka Slum Development Board has provided 72 houses for the benefit of the wastepickers. In addition to that, three dry waste collection centers (DWCCs) are currently functional and provide these workers more reliable job opportunities. A recent observation has revealed that the rate of school dropouts is high in this community, so the NGO is working to reduce that number.
Written by Ramya Gowda K.