Paryavaran Mitra, launched by a dedicated team of social workers, young professionals and industry experts, focuses on improving the economic, social and physical well-being of rag-picking women. We have developed a business model that removes economic exploitation of the women and enables them to earn more. Our research established that volume and sorting are the two major value additions in the entire value chain of solid waste management. So, we have organized 100 women to collect the volume and a team of 10 women do the sorting. Then, unlike other models, we sell the waste directly to the recyclers. This enables us to get better returns, which is returend to the women in quarterly profits. All profits are shared with the women, sometimes in the form of high-quality groceries, school fees, health insurance and more. Through Paryavaran Mitra, we also monitor the women’s health.
In Ramapir No Tekra, one of Ahmedabad’s largest slum communities, we have established two centers known as Piyar (Mother’s home) and Mausal (Aunt’s Home). Piyar manages the sales and purchase of the waste collected by the Paryavaran Mitras while Mausal is a community space where women can sort their waste. This is a hygienic alternative to the women sorting at home. Mausal also features a grocery store, art room, medical room and washroom. Every Saturday we host a Saturday Special in Mausal , where the women get to bond and engage in fun activities centered on awareness, exercise, entertainment and nutrition.
We have also taught a few of the women to create beautiful products out of the waste collected by PMs. From these recycled products, the women can earn additional income and develop their arts skills while the products themselves embody an artistic yet meaningful message for the user. The project has been given the name ‘Gift of Change’.