Waste Pickers in Mumbai
The waste pickers in Mumbai came from famine stricken areas of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. They lived below poverty line and were totally deprived, devastated, and living in desperate conditions. These women were a formidable part of unorganized workers. Almost all of them come from dalit communities, were illiterate and single parents.
SMS conducted a survey of these women and the result revealed the depth of their problems like child marriage, illiteracy, numerous health issues, indebtedness, cheating and exploitation. Most of these women were either widowed, deserted, victims of alcoholism. Drop-out of girls from schools was very high and dadagiri were their main concerns.
The Parisar Vikas program was launched in the year 1998 by the Stree Mukti Sanghatana with the cooperation of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). The program aims to address the problems of waste management through awareness, training and self reliance.
Financial assistance for education, health, housing, family functions and management of scarp shops for and by the waste pickers. The women are organized into SHGs and are affiliated with a federation.