The Ragpickers’ Association was established on 18 January1997 with 10 women in a small Room. It has been managed by women and then set up its own registered association called the Nari Pragati Mahila Mandal, Rasulabad. It has now 77 members with a big shop.
It aims to create an enterprise which is owned and managed by women and which therefore can improve its working conditions and increase earnings. In practice this means to set the members free from the exploitation of private traders.
As we have emphasized earlier, to run an economic organization brings about not only economic benefits but many other side advantages. Thus, for example, this association makes its members aware of health risks and the need of hygiene. It inculcates the need to save and helps them to join as one of the self-help groups of the Bhagyalaxmi Bachat Sangathan. Again setting up an organization means facing a number of challenges: to make sure of the honesty of its members, to handle the enmity of the existing traders. In the process two things happen, as we have pointed out earlier: members acquire new knowledge and greater self-confidence.
This association has now set up a clear modus operandi: 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 a bonus is given depending of the net profit of the whole operation.