From getting ID cards and uniforms to health insurance and scholarships for their kids, Suman has given a new respect to the ragpickers. Watch her speak at the ILO conference in Geneva about her challenges and how she revolutionized the way waste pickers are treated in the country.
Suman More, a 50-years-old waste picker from Pune who had spent her entire life picking up waste, would have never imagined that one day over 2,000 experts from all over the world would be listening to her speak about her work.
But Suman is not just a regular ragpicker. She has revolutionized the way the ragpickers’ community works and has given a new respect and identity to the thousands of waste pickers who were earlier ignored by society.
Having started with just 80 members, Suman’s organization – Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat – now has over 9,000 members in Pune.
“We realized we could not deal with our problems all by ourselves. So we all came together to fight for our rights,” she says at the conference.
From getting ID cards and uniforms from the local municipality to organizing protests and demonstrations, Suman has given a new identity to the ragpickers.
Not just this, Suman and her team also take out 50 percent of the total waste and sell it to recyclers.
Gradually, Suman’s team of ragpickers demanded social security rights from the government and have health insurance. Not only this, they are now even getting scholarships for their children so they can opt for a better life.
Suman has made many more such changes in the lives of ragpickers and given them respect along with a more organized working process.