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Support for Vulnerable Wastepickers in a time of crisis

In a neighbourhood dumping spot, you see men and women armed with old shoes, recycled clothes, a sickle, bag hanging on their shoulder. They bend a thousand times, walk miles to pick recyclable waste to earn their living. They maintain the city against the growing tide of waste. In Bangalore alone, wastepickers save the municipal authorities up to 84 crores for collection and transportation alone by picking recyclables from waste for transportation.

The informal waste sector is an essential extension of waste management and wastepickers are the key to recycling trade for 3000 tonnes of material. Now, wastepicker families are in a difficult situation under the COVID-19 outbreak; they must continue to work as they don’t have the privilege to work from home. However, the waste on the street that they can pick has reduced and children are out of school, that means they do not receive mid-day meals.

Hasiru Dala has identified ~2500 vulnerable wastepickers’ families (no BPL/ration card, no public housing, no predictable income) in 6 cities/towns in Karnataka (Bengaluru, Mysuru, Tumakuru, Davanagere, Hubli/Dharawad)  and Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh who need immediate support.

We are seeking your funding support for providing care kits consisting of 25 kg of rice/wheat, 5 kg lentils, 2 litres of cooking oil, salt, chilli powder, ground nuts and 500 g of jaggery, as well as 2 bars of soap, with each kit costing around 1,600/- including transportation to their homes. The bank details for transfer are:

Name on Account: Hasiru Dala
Savings Account #: 64132965349
Bank: State Bank of India, Cauvery Bhavan Branch, Bengaluru
IFSC: SBIN0003182

Please email to covid19carekit@hasirudala.in your name, PAN # and amount contributed to send your 80G receipt.

You can also donate through Ketto.

Want to do more? Join us in collecting and distributing the kits and email your intent to covid19carekit@hasirudala.in to help us coordinate.

Thanks for your support.


Regarding formal waste workers and how to protect them

From Pinky Chandran’s Facebook wall:

“Extending duty of care to waste workers – #COVID19

Social distancing, stocking up on sanitizers, soap washes, masks and gloves, hoarding supplies, limiting travel, working from home maybe the new normal in being seen as responsible citizens. But pause, take a deep breath and ask yourself- what about the sanitation workers, pourakarmikas, waste pickers and other informal waste collectors and recyclers, who are in the front line managing waste, to keep our cities clean? There is an urgent need to be conscious of the work they do, and services they offer.

There is a critical need for us to realize that we have to be inclusive in fighting the pandemic and in situations like these the best thing that you can do “segregate your waste”.

1. Read up about the right way to segregate your waste from the 2bin1 bag website (https://www.2bin1bag.in/). Ensure three- way segregation of waste at source. Take time to rinse out your soiled plastic or beverage cans and take away boxes, yes including the sachets, pizza/cake boxes. Everything.

2. Dispose the masks, gloves, and tissues that you are using in sanitary waste separately. It must be wrapped in a newspaper bag and clearly specified. (Think twice about using disposable wet wipes, as it is known to clog drains).

3. Make sure the sanitary worker/waste picker is aware of the contents in the bag.

4. It will not hurt for you to spend a few minutes to engage with the waste workers and donate personal protective equipment such as gloves and face/eye/mouth protection, if they are not using or haven’t been given. ( Also ensure that they area ware of cleaning the PPE tools)

5.   Do not dump waste, in case you missed the pick up.

6.  There much debate on this, but it is better to be safe and go the sustainable way and shun the single use plastic. (In a paper that has not yet been peer-reviewed, National Institute of Health scientists analyzed the new corona virus, researchers tracked the virus’ viability on different surfaces and the longevity of staying on plastics, card board, steels etc vary. You are better off, with something that can be washed and sterilized , than disposed right?)


7. Lastly, if you show symptoms or have traveled recently and are waiting for results, please do not leave waste unsupervised for collection. Be proactive and inform the BBMP.

Remember the waste workers are playing a crucial role, we can help them by being responsible.”

Learn more on Radio Active #TrashTalk ,

4 Comments, RSS

  • Shubham

    says on:
    26th March 2020 at 1:49 AM

    Would be really great if we can get a link to donate.
    A lot of donations will be getting lost because the link is not there and process of donation is not very easy

  • Premalatha R

    says on:
    2nd April 2020 at 12:54 PM

    Hi Sir,

    we from a corporate organisation would like to contribute for the needy in your initiative kindly let me know further more details of the location of the families in bangalore and let me know if our company representatives can join your team in distribution of kits.

    kindly contact me for more information 8970324296.

    Premalatha R

  • Dwani

    says on:
    3rd April 2020 at 3:15 PM

    I am Dwani kumara park, and I want to help, not only monetarily but also on ground. From putting together supplies to distributing them. I would also like to volunteer supplies if required, since someone in the family runs a store. Whom can I get in touch with ?


    says on:
    14th July 2020 at 8:42 AM

    Respected sir/ madam
    Warm and heartiest greetings from SARWC-Society – Service Agency for Rural Women and Children, we at SARWC have been implementing and managing a special residential school for 75 mentally handicapped children in Mulbagal of Kolar dist since 21 years and also community based rehabilitation programme for 348 physically disabled persons in Mulbagal and Bangarapete Tqs. In the present COVID-19 pandemic, Most of our residential school children have been handed over to their parents as of the orders issued by concerned district administration but it is also a fact that most of the children have come from ultra poor family backgrounds and it has become a burden to their families to look after their special children. Even we at SARWC do not want to make their lives more miserable during these emergency conditions. Hence we at SARWC took the initiative of caring, protecting, and nurturing this most disadvantaged children and CBR beneficiaries by providing dry rations, medicines, everyday health care investigations and referral services. As it is mentioned earlier we are facing acute shortage of food grains, medicines and also other useful materials. We are in need of dry rations, medicines,clothes for above mentioned mentally challenged and other disabled persons to feed their hunger and attend health issues at least for another 2 months. We at SARWC request your kind perusal to support our efforts by donating food grains, useful materials, clothes and kind to render our services with most disadvantaged communities with food, shelter health and awareness generation activities.
    Hope to hear from your side at the earliest sir/ madam
    your sincerely:
    8722231685 and 9980456428

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