Thanks to Dining for Women, we are presently in the process of building up the
program in India to provide aid to 50 mothers and 100 daughters presently living in
the trash-dumps of Pune--home to some of the world’s most glaring gender-based
inequities, income- and otherwise (Tacoli, 2012; Sen, 2010). We will provide adult
literacy services, business skills, and microloans to the mothers to start small
businesses. We will enroll the daughters in primary school and provide free
tutoring and school supplies. Our overarching objective is to free these families of
the burden of selling and eating scraps found in the trash, and enable the mothers
to support their families by means other than wastepicking.
The UNForgotten Fund
Country Directors Mr. Eeshaan
Asaikar and Ms. Dhriti Nayyar
Dresses made by Panmala Vasahat Self Help Groups
|Projects Manager Ms. Mrunalini Pendse (right)
in Panmala Vasahat, Pune, India
About 1.5 million people, primarily women from socially marginalized groups, work as
wastepickers in India (Chaturvedi, 2010). In Pune, the wastepickers belong to the Dalits
caste (the "untouchables"). At the lowest end of the urban occupational hierarchy, they
earn less than $1 per day. About 90% of wastepickers in India are women; half are under
the age of 35. Many were driven by famine from rural areas years ago. Despite the recent
economic growth in the country, still over one-third of Indians live below the country's
national poverty line and half of the entire underweight population (including adults) are
young girls (Sen, 2010). Although the city of Pune is renowned for its natural beauty, its
dump receives some 1000 metric tons of waste every day (see punegarbage.org), and at
least 10,000 wastepickers try to recover recyclables from the city’s trash (Chapin, 1995).
Living and working conditions are treacherous, as fires break out nearly daily.
Initially, our goal was to enroll some of these wastepicker children in school, and provide them
with basic school supplies such as uniforms, notebooks, and pencils. In June 2009, in
coordination with KKPKP (a union of wastepickers in Pune), The Unforgotten began enrolling
children in school. By June 2010, 31 child wastepickers were in the program.
With grant support from Dining for Women ($41,100 over two years), The Unforgotten will expand
it's program in India, adding microloans and business training for the mothers of these children,
so that the families can leave the wastepicking business. By the end of 2014, we plan to have 50
mothers and 100 girls in the program.
Our field teams, headed by Ms. Mrunalini Pendse, have been working in the slum
communities of Panmala Vasahat (population 1000) and Rajiv Gandhi Nagar
(population 750), where many of the wastepickers live. Each Ward in the city has its
own trash bins/collection points which are like mini trash dumps. Mothers and girls
are generally found browsing through these bins to collect recyclables as well.
Wastepickers inhabit slums near the well-to-do areas, because these privileged
consumers tend to throw out a lot of recyclable items like tin cans.
Two Self-Help Groups in Panmala Vasahat began a three month tailoring course in
June 2013. A picture of the colorful dresses they sewed is shown above. The
course was offered by the Government's Human Resource Development Ministry,
and paid for by The Unforgotten.
Our objective is to empower girls and mothers and through their continued advocacy
and leadership, to transform and uplift entire communities from the ground up (see
Asaki & Hayes, 2011; Roever & Linares, 2010) through qualitative education, adult
and family literacy (Pandey, 2012; 2010), and accessible financial independence
Asaki, B. & Hayes, S. (2011). Leaders, not clients: grassroots women's groups transforming social protection, Gender & Development, 19 (2), 241-
Chaturvedi, Bharati (2010) Mainstreaming Waste Pickers and the Informal Recycling Sector in the Municipal Solid Waste
Pandey, A. (2012). Language Building Blocks. New York: Teachers College Press. http://store.tcpress.com/0807753556.shtml
Pandey, A. (2010). The Child Language Teacher: Intergenerational Language and Literary Enhancement. Manasagangothri, Mysore: Central
Institute of Indian Languages. 405pp.
Roever, S. & Linares, L.A. (2010). Street Vendors Organising: The Case of the Women’s Network (Red de Mujeres), Lima, Peru, Urban Policies
Briefing Note No. 2, WIEGO.
Sen, G. (2010). Poor households or poor women: is there a difference? The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty: Concepts, Research,
Policy, Sylvia Chant (ed), Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, pp 101-104.
Tacoli, C. (2012). Urbanization, gender and urban poverty: paid work and unpaid carework in the city. IIED, UN Population Fund, March.
Our work in India would not be possible without the support of Dining for
Women, Graphic Social Foundation, KKPKP, and individual donors such
as those from the CFC Campaign. Graphic Social Foundation and The
Unforgotten are sharing the costs for setting up the new microlending
and business training programs, and the educational costs for the young
girls (in FY 2013). Dining for Women will then be providing grant funding
to take these programs to full scale (FYs 2014 to 2015) -- to provide the
funding to support 50 mothers and 100 daughters. Individual donor
funding, including those from federal and state employees, are critical to
sustaining these programs. And continued coordination with KKPKP is
vital to identifying mothers and children in need. Thank you to ALL!!
INDIA PROGRAM VIDEO
Maitreyi Shankar (left) and Poornima
Chikarmane (right) of KKPKP. Many,
UNFORGOTTEN TEAM INDIA
Projects Manager: Mrunalini Pendse
GSDF: Vandana Naik
Director, Board: Ashwini Jog
Director, Board: Eeshaan Asaikar
Director, Board: Sriram Padmanabhan
Country Director: Dhriti Nayyar
KKPKP: Maitreyi Shankar
Field worker: Priya Alhat
Field worker: Pranita Jadhav