Have you seen people collecting garbage from rubbish dumps? Often, children do so, as well as adults. Suman More, who lives in Pune, started doing it when she was just 13. She continued this work even after she got married and had children of her own. She would work the whole day, looking for anything she could sell. She would bring some of the garbage home, and her husband and children would help separate it into various types of waste. At the end of the day, her earning would usually be just Rs.15!
But things began to change when Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) members came to Suman’s colony, and asked her and others to join the organization. They explained that, as a group, they could ask for better working conditions and more benefits. Many people didn’t want to join, but Suman and a few others did. And she’s very happy about it.
Suman and other ragpickers are now able to talk to Corporation officials and get better working conditions. The Corporation has provided sorting sheds, so she doesn’t bring waste home any more. Through a welfare organization for the ragpickers, Suman and others support and motivate each other. Suman’s son is now a post-graduate.