#GoodNews: Bengaluru Woman’s Initiative Impacts 10k Waste Pickers

Nalini Sekhar, a woman from Bengaluru founded ‘Harisu Dala’ six years ago, with a vision to give waste pickers a sense of occupational identity, give them social security and include them in the dialogue on social waste management.

Hasiru Dala is a social impact organisation that focuses on securing justice for waste-pickers through interventions co-created with the waste-pickers, in the areas of identity rights, access to family education, healthcare, housing and pension, skill development, market and employment access, and multi-tier policy advocacy.

According to The Better India, Nalini started working with Waste Pickers in Pune since 1993, seven years before the law on solid waste management came into being.

“I saw how vulnerable, yet resilient they were. They would fight everything from dogs, pigs, police officers, and citizens, just to continue their work. Nothing fazed them, and I drew a lot of energy from that,” she told The Better India.

Harisu Dala (green force), the organisation’s name came from the waste pickers themselves, Nalini pointed out. She told the website that she told them that they were all silent environmentalists, helping save a lot of money.

"“It was one of these interactions that they expressed the desire to be called the Green Force.”" - Nalini Sekar to The Better India

Since its inception in 2011, the NGO has impacted the lives of about 10,000 waste pickers, creating about 500 jobs and recycling or composing close to 50 tons of waste. The organisation also provides scholarships and education loans for children of waste pickers and informal waste workers, according to their website. They also facilitate insurance and banking services to them.

The workers at Hasiru Dala collect the segregated waste and bring it back to their processing units, where it is collected, sorted and then sent out for further processing.

(With inputs from The Better India)

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