A typical day in the life of a rag-picker consists of her heading out to work between 2 and 3 am, walking for nearly 8-10 km, scavenging in dump sites and alley ways, bending up and down a minimum of 1000 times, to collect nearly 20 kg of recyclable waste from our city’s streets. She sorts and sells the waste to community pitas (waste collection centers), earning nearly Rs.100-Rs.140, enough for hand-to-mouth survival of her and her family. There are 40,000 such women in Ahmedabad who collectively pick up 8,00,000 kg of waste every single day. As they are offering such an immense service to society and the environment, we call them Paryavaran Mitra, Friends of the Environment.
Let’s meet some of these Unsung heroines.
Muliben Narshingbhai Makwan
A smiling personality spreading love and compassion with her presence. Although she is in her 50s but she still has energy of a young girl. Her hardworking nature and honesty makes her a lovable person of the community. She is also an honorable trustee of Paryavaran Mitra
Manjulaben Vasantbhai Parmar
Another woman with an extra-ordinary persona. She is mother of 3 girls but determined to educate all of them. She is nothing less than an inspiration for the whole community where girl child is seen as a curse.
Aashaben Rameshbhai Chauhan
A young energetic woman with strong values and self-respect. Although dealing with lots of trouble financially, she makes sure that she has not borrowed money for anyone who can raise fingers on her integrity.
Lalitaben Maheshbhai Parmar
Lalitaben has been an inspiration for our community. Although a rag- picker by profession, she works to make sure her three children get a good education. Both Lalitaben and her husband Maheshbhai (who lost his arm in an accident), are living examples of hard work and compassion.
Babiben Tulasibhai Parmar
She is oldest member of our family. Although she is in late 60s, she manages everything by her own and moreover also supports her married daughter as and when needed. She is definitely one of the most loved and respected member of the community.