The Rag-pickers’ Association was
established on 18 January 1997 with 10 women from one of the slums. It is a
registered association called the Nari Pragati Mahila Mandal,
Rasulabad. It had 77 members with a shop for storage of the waste they have
collected. After door-to-door picking system brought in by the Surat Municipal
Cooperation, the number has reduced to just 16 women. Sadly but livelihood of
these women is connected with the waste Surat produces. They clean up the mess
we create but very few care about lives of these women.
The association was set up to help these
rag-picker women from the exploitation of the traders involved with ‘waste
business’. It was to help these women to get adequate wages for their waste
collection and labour put in.
The association helps the women in accessing
their entitlements. NAVSARJAN help women to sell the waste they have collected
at a reasonable price and help them saving and access credit through women’s
saving and credit cooperative.
The modus operandi of waste collection and
disposal is as follows. Women go for rag picking early in the morning (6
o’clock) and then leave everything in assigned place to be collected and
brought by NAVSARJAN’s truck to the central shop where the items are sorted,
weighed and bills prepared according to the value and weight of each item. Each
member is then given cash accordingly and at the end of the year surplus from
the sale is distributed among women and other employees at the shop.