Hyderabad: Sanitation workers, rag pickers and scavengers are the most ignored segment of society. While many startups have come up in the space of waste management and waste recycling, not much has been at the ground level – that is to improve the lives of the lowest segment of the sector.
Intending to recognise and dignify the contribution of ‘waste workers’ in India, one Hyderabad-based startup Recykal has created another brand called Recykal Foundation.
The foundation aims to extend multifaceted support to ‘Safai Mitras’ by creating an ecosystem wherein they are not just given the right wages but are also given an identity of their own and the next generation is given the right kind of skilling and education.
The Recykal Foundation aims to transform the lives of one million ‘Safai Mitras’ by 2025 and as part of this, it has unveiled a new initiative called Unnati SETU that will focus on bridging the gap to drive socio-economic upliftment of the community.
Under its Unnati SETU (Social & Economic Transformative Upliftment) initiative, it has impacted the lives of 4,000 Safai Mitras by distributing one meal a day, every day since Jan 26 this year in Gudimalkapur, Hyderabad.
“About 70 per cent of the Safai Mitras are women, and there is a lot of mental and physical exploitation that makes it an unsafe working environment. Child labour is prevalent in this community and often children made to work in hazardous conditions. Due to the lack of societal recognition, this community continues to be neglected and caught in a vicious cycle,” says Viiveck Verma, chief impact officer, Recykal Foundation.
The foundation intends to first solve the problem of identity by providing workers with identity cards like Aadhaar which will, in turn, help them in opening a bank account and then get enrolled in government schemes. It will also work on providing education and training in vocational skills.
It is collaborating with government institutions to expand its Swachhta Kendras which are centres for waste material collection and channelisation.