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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Children eking out a living from waste get help

In a move likely to provide opportunities of education to numerous child-labourers,a city-based organisation Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat...

Written by Ranjani Raghavan | Pune |
December 28, 2009 2:56:26 am

City-based organisation to build support system for migrant child labourers

In a move likely to provide opportunities of education to numerous child-labourers,a city-based organisation Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) which works with migrant child waste pickers has joined hands with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to identify and build up a support system for the migrant child waste pickers of Pune.

Over the last few years,the waste pickers’ population in Pune has undergone a demographic change with studies suggesting that the children who are waste pickers in Pune do not hail from the city itself. Many of them are migrant children,who come to Pune to earn their livelihood.

“The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) approached us recently — they want us to identify these migrant children and conduct a demographic study so that interventions can be made. We hope to start work by mid January,beginning with the launching of non formal education centres for these children,” said Maitreyi Shankar,member of KKPKP. The SSA-KKPKP study will also do a head count on the number of children who are still involved in waste picking,despite the Child Labour Act.

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“These children end up doing nothing the entire day because of waste picking. All they have to do is pick up a few bottles for which they get anywhere between Rs 10 to Rs 30,” she said. “While KKPKP has tried to get scrap dealers to promise that they will not accept scrap from children,little can be done without social pressure,” Shankar said.

In studies in 1995,KKPKP found over 600 children involved in waste picking. In 2004,a follow-up study revealed that the numbers had reduced significantly. However,there were around 360 children in the age group of 9-14 involved in waste picking. Some of them were enrolled in schools,but were still picking waste. “A majority of the children were migrants,many of them had come specifically from Malegaon and were sending waste back to Malegaon,where there is a ready market for recycling plastic,” said Shankar.

But the studies reinforced the belief that education initiatives targeted at the city waste-picking community was working. Many children of Pune-based adult waste pickers previously in the same profession had gone on to get an education and had taken up other professions over the last decade. Sapna Dixit,a commerce graduate,is a child of a waste picker. “My mother works as a waste picker,but she ensured that none of us got into waste picking. We were all sent to school and educated,” she said. Dixit has four brothers and sisters; two of them are employed while the other two are still studying.

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