Rehabilitation, Social Development and Economic Self Sufficiency of Rag Picker’s of Kolkata
A registered body, it seeks to rehabilitate rag pickers and their families by helping to make life more bearable for them. Misereor, Germany which is a Roman Catholic Church organisation, is helping rehabilitate 350 rag pickers’ families. They are linked to corporates so that they can collect solid waste like discarded paper and packaging from them. Women and adolescent girl are taught ways to earn a living. They learn how to process spices, tailoring, paperbag manufacturing, etc. Adults and children all get healthcare and are initiated into learning. Financial support is given to rag pickers to run small businesses to recycle waste which is the great socially useful job they do, making them a part of the global journey towards sustainable development. But a new storm cloud has come over them recently compactor machines which threatened their livelihood. The unsegregated urban solid waste is compacted and then dumped at the Dhapa Landfill. The rag pickers are not involved in the door-to-door collection and waste is being dumped without segregation which is a gross violation of the Municipal Act. We are in talks with the elected representatives to involve rag pickers in solid waste management so that their livelihood is ensured.
– 52% out of the 359 families have considerably increased their income from Rs. 500 to Rs. 9,000 per month, approximately.
– Now they can access healthcare, education, availability of electricity, nutritious food, clothing, vocational training in computer and beautician with economic empowerment.
– 44 families have left rag picking and adopted alternative means of livelihood.
Sponsorship Program for Destitute Girls
A joint venture between Tiljala SHED and AIDOS, Italy since 1995, it aims to uplift girls from deprived backgrounds, usually living alone on pavements, railway platforms or slums, who have been exploited and not had a chance to grow mentally and physically. Core support is given through education and healthcare. A library with Internet access is there for those who can take their learning forward. Effort is made to raise the girls’ social consciousness so that they can know their rights and can become successful anchors of society and its change agents. Institutional support is also given to those whose personalities have been bruised by deprivation and abuse from an early age. This program has changed the mindset of the people that girls, if educated can play a bigger role in the family.
(Home for children of Rag Pickers and other ultra poor families)
We have gone beyond Kolkata city, extended our work to Mouli Mukundo Village (South 24 Parganas district), where we have set up Aasra Sadan (shelter home) for the most vulnerable children from the families of rag pickers and the ultra poor, some of them involved in violence and substance abuse. This is a pilot project supporting 25 children but we hope to scale it up to 100. The children are made to follow a daily routine to bring discipline into their lives, and go to a nearby government school and also attend the remedial educational center within the Sadan. Our hope is that with time the children will acquire the necessary skills to live a life of dignity and become responsible citizens.
Integrated Children Protection Scheme (Open Shelter Home)
Objective: 90% of all children from the rag picking families are protected from various forms of abuses, atrocities, and exploitation.
We have been associated since 2000 with the street children program of Government of India, Ministry of Women and Child Development. Under it we have helped 300 street children so as to rehabilitate them socially, economically and emotionally. For the last three years the program has acquired a new format.
Now there is an Institutional Care Home open 24 hours a day to receive children in the 6-18 age group in distress and facing a crisis. We have three contact points to reach out to any vulnerable child in need of care and protection, particularly street and working children, rag pickers, small vendors, street performers, those who are orphaned, deserted, trafficked or have run away from home.