The Coconut Garden Residents Welfare Association (RWA) is an informal body of residents in Nagarbhavi, Bangalore, and comprises around 130 houses. As is with most of the RWAs, the work of the association with its dedicated team is to ensure water supply, internal road work, tackling problems of electricity, cleanliness, helping with documentation and organising cultural activities. The association strives for the overall welfare of its residents, who are quite active and enthusiastically participate in the programmes.
One such programme, which was organised in June, was different than the rest – the annual day. For the first time, the association and its members thought it fit to honour the pourakarmikas, or the municipal sanitary workers, employed by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). This was in recognition of their hard work throughout the year. The residents were aware that their health, to a large extent, depended on the cleanliness of the locality. So, this was the least that they could do for the people who kept it clean.
The idea of honouring the pourakarmikas came from the residents itself, who discussed it during a committee meeting.
There were 10 pourakarmikas – five men and five women – along with their supervisor, all of whom were publicly honoured. All the pourakarmikas were invited to the stage to a loud applause.
The workers received a ‘Certificate of Appreciation’, a fruit basket, ₹500 cash and new clothes. It was a very emotional moment for them. Some of them expressed how it was the first time someone had appreciated their work.
“We have been working in the colony for more than 10 years and hardly has anybody spoken us. Whenever they did talk, it was usually to complain. For the first time in our life, we feel proud, we feel recognised, and have felt a sense of identity,” said one of them. “We can live in poverty but not with abuses and insults. We are very, very happy at this kind gesture,” said another worker.
When the idea of honouring the pourakarmikas was discussed, it was whole-heartedly agreed by the association. The celebration ended with dinner for the workers, who ate with the residents. It was an unforgettable day for both. The association plans to organise more such programmes in the future.
A feeling of achievement, a sense of fulfillment – such was the impact that now the residents want to take it forward by discussing any problems that the pourakarmikas face regarding their children’s education, so that they can offer help
(Written by K.L. Vinaya)