Representing and alleviating the conditions in which waste pickers lives involves understanding the problems that they face from a ground up and accepting that any single solution will not be a silver bullet. We look at the problem as having primarily three fronts –

  • Political Representation
  • Income opportunity provision
  • Educational opportunity

Our steps to include the waste picker community fall under these general brackets.

Occupational Identity Cards

Bengaluru is the first city in India, where occupational identity cards are being issued to waste pickers by Municipal Corporation –Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Pallike (BBMP). Hasiru Dala facilitated the process and as an acknowledgement its logo is printed on the back of the card. The given identity card has a signature of commissioner and is identical with the Mayor, public workers and representatives’ identity cards. Till date more than 7500 occupational identity cards have been issued by the corporation. Nelamangala Municipal Council is taking up similar initiative. Discussions are ongoing in Mysuru.

Inclusion in National Health Insurance Scheme

Rashtriya Swasthya Beema Yojna (RSBY) is an initiative of Government of India for unorganized/informal economy workers launched on 1st April, 2008 by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India. In its intention to reach the lacunas in the health insurance schemes, RSBY is envisaged with a well-designed concept to avoid all health shocks- threat to life and livelihood of informal economy (unorganized sector) workers. Under RSBY the beneficiaries are entitled to have coverage of up to Rs. 30,000/- for treatment in the hospital; beneficiaries can avail transportation expense from the hospital Rs. 100/- at the time of discharge and can also avail up to Rs. 1000/- annually for medical needs. The scheme covers both the worker and his/her family members including spouse and three dependents. The beneficiaries need to pay Rs. 30/- as a registration fee while the premium will be paid by the Central and State Government to the insurer selected on the basis of a competitive bidding among the insurance companies. With the efforts of Hasiru Dala more than 2500 waste pickers have been enrolled in the scheme.

Enrollment in relevant pension and other schemes for unorganized sector workers

Union and state government offer many differing pensions like old age and widow to workers from unorganized sector. Hasiru Dala supports waste pickers in accessing relevant pension schemes. Organization is also working towards housing for waste pickers, who are either homeless or live in informal settlements.

Scholarship and loans for education of children of waste pickers

Children of waste pickers in Bangalore received scholarships from Union Government worth INR 216,450, after their enrollment facilitated by Hasiru Dala. The scholarship programme is initiated by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and is extended to all pre-matriculation students- children of parents engaged in ‘unclean occupation’. Hasiru Dala on its own has offered scholarships to many children. Educational loans have been facilitated to 58 children. In the years to come, Hasiru Dala plans to create an in-house corpus fund for facilitating scholarships and loans for education of children of waste pickers and other informal waste workers.

Educational support through summer camps, books and localized libraries

Every year Hasiru Dala organizes summer camp before the beginning of new academic session. This way enrollment in schools is ensured. During the summer camp, children are given bridge courses and special focus is on subjects in which they are weak. Books are purchased and given free of cost to children. Recently, with the help of a partner organization Hasiru Dala started mobile book clubs/libraries. The libraries have paid membership, a fees of INR 20 is paid to become the member of library.

Skill up gradation training

Lot of individuals started waste-picking as they were supposedly lacking skills. Hasiru Dala doesn’t consider them skill-less, according to the organization, they all have entrepreneurial spirit and zeal. If trained a little they can become very valuable economic workforce. In addition to that, many waste pickers wanted to engage in professions other than waste picking from streets. Thus, training modules were developed to shore them up from waste pickers to become service providers in areas like scrap shop management, composting, organic waste management, terrace gardening and supervision and organizing to add them to the existing workforce of Hasiru Dala.

Health camps

Time to time Hasiru Dala organizes health camps in waste-pickers’ area of residence and work-place. Waste pickers are also supported to avail medicines and available treatment.

Access to financial services

Waste pickers and other informal waste workers are on the fringes of urban economy. Financial institutions rarely consider them to be credit worthy. Due to the efforts of Hasiru Dala, financial services particularly credit facilities and savings accounts are being extended to waste pickers and other informal waste workers. This is used for scaling up of the operation of individual waste pickers and retail waste dealers. Hasiru Dala with individual donors, partner organizations and Mudra Bankhas facilitated capital for managing the running cost of Dry Waste Collection centers.

Donate Dry Waste

Donate Dry Waste is a solution where citizens enroll for weekly dry waste pick-up services waste workers service this need via a notification on their mobile app, using a pedaled tri-cycle rickshaw/motored vehicle as a collection vehicle. The fleet is connected to nearest DWCC. The programme channelizes dry waste i.e. recyclables, low value and no value waste to respective reprocessing/recycling units and co-processing installations of cement factories. This systematically increases waste segregation at source, increase resource recovery, citizen participation and reduce black spots.

Jayamma Fellowship to Incubate Activists for Organizing Wastepickers and Informal Waste Workers

Hasiru Dala incubates organisations who are keen to work with the wastepickers and in waste management. It was realized that the mentoring process of organizations and individuals need to be institutionalized to enhance the learning. Three-month fellowship programme named Jayamma Memorial Fellowship is being undertaken to incubate interested activists and concern citizens. Jayamma Memorial Fellowship: Jayamma was the founder member of Hasiru Dala. She was a wastepicker and a born leader who helped in organizing wastepickers across the city. To honour her work and contribution the fellowship for incubating interested activists and concerned citizens has been named after her.

Management of Dry Waste Collection Centres

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Pallike (Greater Bangalore Municipal Corporation) has installed Dry Waste Collection Centres in more than 150 wards of the city. These centres receive dry waste (recyclables, low and no value waste) from their respective wards. Further, dry waste is sorted, aggregated and sold to different recycling units. Hasiru Dala is operating 29 of the 150 Dry Waste Collection Centres. It is must to mention that Bangalore is the first city in India, to sign Memorandum of Understanding directly with wastepickers for operations of the given facilities of the city. Hasiru Dala provides managerial support for running of these centres.

Capacity Building of Municipal and other Local Bodies

Hasiru Dala hosts workshops and training sessions for personnel of municipal and other local bodies for better understanding of efficient and scientific waste management, relevant laws and practices.