Photo Story —Kaleel and Jaid, Two Dry Waste Collectors in North Bangalore

August 4, 2016
By Rang De Team

Mohammad Kaleel runs a Dry Waste Collection Centre in Abbigere. It took him 30 years of hard work to get to this stage where he can employ 12 people. Unlike his past, he ensures fair and regular wages for the waste sorters.

HasiruDala (“Green Force” in Kannada), a membership based non-profit organization of waste pickers and other informal waste workers, is one of our most valuable partners.

They advocate for the community that picks up the waste on the streets.

They have helped us reach out to 172 green force warriors and we have facilitated education loans and working capital loans for this marginalised community. Many of these families fit our definition of underserved communities as they eke out a living on less than Rs 5,000 in a month and live in one-room houses in slum areas in Bangalore.

(Left) Rang De Impact team member Farheen talks to Kaleel about this business. (Right) Six women work on sorting waste while two people go in vans to collect waste.

Two vans make two trips every day and tonnes of waste are sorted and recycled by Kaleel and his employees

Mohammad Kaleel is 48. He runs a godown/dry waste collection centre in Abbigere. A family of six depend on his Rs 12k per month income and he ensures employment for 12 people.

“Previously, I had taken finance from an Andhra fellow. I had taken Rs 90,000 and I had to repay Rs 1,000 on a daily basis within 100 days. I had taken such a loan 2–3 times to support my business,” he told us. With Rang De, he is taking a Rs 50,000 loan that has a 10% flat interest per annum.

“I have hired 12 people to work under me. Four years back, it was just me and my sons. In a month, I pay around Rs 80k for all of their wages.

“In the past, I had to pay Rs 100 per day or Rs 1,000 in a month when the police would swing by but now I have no such problems because of HasiruDala’s help.”

Kaleel stands with his son who works with him in his godown

Kaleel is a good man. A family man. As we met, we could feel the struggle he endured over so many years to reach a place that many of our borrowers can only dream of.

A roof over his head, a steady income and four sons and a daughter taken care of is all he seeks. For that, he works 10 hours a day throughout the week to find usable waste, sorting it in different colours to sell to the Bangalore Bruhat Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).

Jaid and his family live at their makeshift godown where they dump all the waste they collect

Unlike Kaleel, Jaid’s struggle is far greater.

Jaid is a 20-year-old waste-picker who migrated from a border town in West Bengal to work in Bangalore.

(Left) A single tricycle can dramatically increase the productivity of waste-pickers. (Right) Jaid took an unfair loan to purchase a tricycle. The cost? Rs 10,000

Having migrated with his brothers and cousins, they operate and live in the same area where they collect their waste.

Circumstances have forced Jaid to wise up and take charge of his life with HasiruDala’s help at a very young age.

“I went to their office and they got me a health card, Aadhar card etc,” Jaid told us.

“We have taken cash from moneylenders and repay them by giving them these materials we collect and they sell them instead.”

A loan repaid not in cash but in items. The very items that Jaid needs to sell to have three meals in a day.

“We save around Rs 500 every day but then pay the rent for this plot which costs Rs 10,000 per month,” Jaid continued.

“We have only taken this plot on partnership. We need to pay some money to the cops as well.”

Jaid works with his three brothers and hopes to get out of this unhygienic living arrangement soon

Right now, we are looking to support six Dry Waste Collection Centre workers.

These are the people who work a thankless task. These are the people we see everyday.

Jaid’s home

We can work together towards improving their lives.

We can help young waste-pickers like Jaid have an easier time to reach an acceptable standard of living the way Kaleel has after 30 years in the waste-picking business.

We have raised Rs 26,400 out of a total of Rs 186,200 that these six waste-pickers need to run their operations for the next year.

Help us support their livelihoods and get them the capital they need at a fair interest rate on the Rang De platform.