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Hasiru Dala

Our role in
Saamuhika Shakti

In the Saamuhika Shakti initiative, Hasiru Dala, which means Green Force, will work under four broad umbrellas to support and empower the community:
*Improved linkages to government schemes (health, finance, housing) and advocacy to strengthen their security net.
*Address community and family violence in the communities, build systems of support for survivors and negotiate paths to mediation and bridge-building.
*Address substance abuse in the communities, addressing rehabilitation and support systems for the waste pickers and their families.
*Work to re-design workplace equipment for safer working conditions for waste pickers, and this will be accompanied by a behavior change program to ensure the usage of this equipment.

What we do

Hasiru Dala is a social impact organization that works with waste pickers and other informal waste workers to ensure a life with dignity. Hasiru Dala has worked in Bengaluru since 2011 and has spread to 11 cities across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.

Activities and impact

Social security: Hasiru Dala’s social security team works towards providing waste pickers with access to social security entitlements, such as government schemes, identity cards,  healthcare, housing, and financial services. 
Hasiru Mane: Under our housing programme, Hasiru Dala works with waste-picking communities to submit applications to build/rebuild homes. Many communities face heat stress due to poorly designed homes that are too warm to sleep in, food spoils quickly, and so on. Hasiru Mane is exploring low-cost roofing solutions to climate proof homes in urban slums in collaboration with  CBalance, We retrofit roofs with recycled pet bottles filled with water or use wood fibreboards etc to cool the homes. 
Support for domestic violence survivors: Hasiru Dala holds counselling sessions for women, families, and children, both individually and in groups. The staff is trained and sensitized, so they can speak well about the prevention of sexual harassment and child sexual abuse. Over several months, Hasiru Dala has also been raising awareness and providing safe spaces for the waste-picker community, providing assistance on a case-by-case basis, as well as engaging communities to act as change-makers for themselves.

Substance abuse intervention: One of the ways in which Hasiru Dala tackles the problem of substance abuse in the communities, especially among children and young adults, is through Creative Arts Therapy, Art and Play Therapy, and one on one counselling programs. These sessions create spaces of safety and became all the more important during the pandemic. During sessions, children bring up various challenges they face at home, in the community, and at school, and work through these issues using art and theatre as mediums of expression.

Safer working conditions: Hasiru Dala is working on redesigning equipment and protective gear, based on inputs from waste pickers on what works and does not work for them. To ensure waste pickers are equipped to adopt safer gear, a behaviour change program is also underway. 

Health and COVID-19 interventions:  The health team focuses on getting waste pickers access to vaccines and regular health camps. 
The pandemic and associated lockdowns were a devastating blow to the waste picking and extended informal waste/recycling communities.
Hasiru Dala had to pivot to immediate relief work (food, income, workplace safety, and in later months medical and isolation support for those affected by the virus).

Some regular projects were put on hold or drastically redesigned to be effective in the new scenarios. 

Our health camps became vaccination drives, waste-picker meetings were substituted with WhatsApp groups, and therapy was moved to an online space. Vaccine hesitancy was a huge challenge. Hasiru Dala worked with Saamuhika Shakti partner BBC Media Action to create videos to bust some vaccine myths, and worked with many other organizations, including another partner Sambhav Foundation to hold vaccination drives. 
Leadership Development Programme and Namma Jagali: Namma Jagali or “Our Space’ is meant to involve the community directly in addressing long-term issues that they face. Every few weeks, Hasiru Dala organizes a Namma Jagali session where community members list the issues they face, and the solution that they think will help. The sessions help them exercise agency and authority to advocate for themselves and their dependents. These are long-term solutions for long-term problems where the community members learn to become a part of the change-making system within the Solid Waste Management infrastructure of a city and within their communities and locations regardless of occupation.

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