Fund new livelihoods for ragpickers
Focus: Social Exclusion, Livelihoods
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Help a ragpicker move to a safer livelihood option!
The funds raised contributed towards covering the costs of Nasima's Livelihoods Grant, which she used to invest in her recycling business. She is already making a 20% profit, and her business seems promising!
Only extreme poverty drives the homeless – often rural migrants to the city – to eke a living out of other people’s rubbish. It is a degrading and hazardous job, especially as Kolkatans do not segregate waste at source, with ragpickers often exposed to dangerous and toxic substances. Without education and skills, plying rickshaws, selling fruit and vegetables or running a tea stall appeal as a viable livelihood options.WHY IN KOLKATA?
The ‘City of Joy’ is home to the poorest of India’s poor, with the per capita income being just Rs 27 a day. And now, with the government’s cleanliness drive, ragpickers too have been driven out of work and need alternative sources of income.
The ragpicker, despite doing work that benefits the municipality and society at large is condemned to live a very insecure existence.
In India, the people who handle our waste are invisible: we do not know them and do not acknowledge their role in our society. These people should be looked at as carbon assets. They are negating our carbon footprint.
It is poverty that makes us do this work. If I had an alternative, I wouldn't be doing it. Who would like to collect garbage? I don't want my children to come into the business. I want them to do something better.
Based on a successful test project in 2016, TSHED will set up a microcredit programme with the funds raised to give small grants of about Rs 15,000 to rag pickers. These will help them start alternative businesses such as cycle rickshaw and van driving, vegetable selling, garment making, etc. The grants will be conditional on beneficiaries repaying the loan with a tiny interest to a revolving fund and protecting and educating their children.
Nasima Bibi has been working as a rag-picker, earning a mere Rs 3,000 a month and living on a footpath with family members in Narkeldanga, Kolkata. She has a small business recycling solid, dry waste like paper, metal, glass, wood, plastic etc., which she purchases from rag-pickers, and sells to vendors. She aspires to turn this recycling business into a successful one, but due to a lack of funds, had not been able to invest in it until recently.
She applied for our Livelihoods Grant to help her grow her business and thanks to the funds raised in April, we were able to give her Rs 10,000, with the shortfall made up by another donor. We are happy to report that Nasima has already started making a 20% profit and her monthly income has gone up to 3600! We hope to see Nasima Bibi's business continue to flourish in the months to come.