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Hasiru Dala

Our role in Saamuhika Shakti

In the Saamuhika Shakti initiative, Hasiru Dala works across multiple interventions and in collaboration with other partners to reach our shared vision.
We believe that sustainability for our interventions is achieved only when waste pickers represent themselves. Our work involves enabling waste pickers to have access to social security, housing, health services and livelihoods, including efforts to support leaders from the community and make space for them at the table in Solid Waste Management dialogues.
  • Waste Picker Families Attain Enhanced Economic Stability and reduced financial vulnerability
  • Waste Picker Families can access affordable and quality services enabled by the public and private sectors - education, health care, water, sanitation, housing etc
  • Waste picker families have improved/safer working conditions
  • Improve and create accessibility to support systems for waste picker families to prevent and address domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health

What we do

Hasiru Dala is a social impact organisation 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: Linking waste pickers with social security benefits and schemes is a sustainable method to bridge the gap between their livelihoods and a living wage. With the digitisation of all services, waste pickers must understand the need for the safety of the documents of the family members. Efforts are made to increase digital awareness and build skills among waste pickers / their family members to use Digilocker for safe keeping of the documents.

Our Impact So Far:
  • Between 2020 and 2023, we facilitated 7,599 social security applications for 4,000 waste pickers
Housing: Waste pickers often live in unstable or downgraded housing conditions that need upgrading. Our Hasiru Mane initiative facilitates access to public housing, and sanitation issues in waste picker notified communities. We also conduct training for waste pickers in public housing to raise their awareness and build their capacity to work for their communities. We also work in select settlements to address Zero Waste aims with nutritional support.

Our Impact so Far:
  • We have supported public housing development for 45 households in Kuntigrama and are continuing this work in other locations
  • In collaboration with cBalance, we retrofitted roofs in Jyothipura to solve for climate change rise in temperatures
  • During the 2022 floods, we provided flood relief and housing repair support for over 100 families across Bengaluru.
Health: Preventive intervention for non-communicable diseases is key for the overall well-being of waste pickers. While our focus is on access to health care facilities of the state or local government (municipality - BBMP), we also implement doorstep diagnostic intervention in areas where Primary Health Care access is not available. And work with local and state medical infrastructure to ensure secondary and tertiary care for community members.

Our Impact so Far:
  • We conducted 91 health and awareness camps over 4 years for waste picker communities across the city and supported follow-ups and tertiary care.
  • In collaboration with the BBMP, Saamuhika Shakti partners and other organisations, we also provided COVID-19 vaccinations for nearly 14,000 waste pickers and family members.
Workplace Safety: Our Workplace Safety Project is a mission to minimise exposure to workplace issues and enhance safety for waste pickers. We spent time in rigorous study to understand the safety and health challenges faced by these essential workers and worked on innovative designs for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We are deploying these new designs in the community to see their effectiveness as protective gear.

Our Impact so Far:
  • New designs have been developed and are being tested with community members for Phase 2!
Addressing substance abuse: Substance abuse is a public health issue and any intervention here needs to be rooted in community participation. Our work here involves youth-led prevention and health professional-led treatment involving medical and rehabilitation organisations. All our team members who work in social security have gone through a certificate course on substance abuse from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS).

Our Impact so Far:
  • We have supported over 100 community members to reach out for rehabilitation and support for substance abuse concerns!
  • To raise awareness and reduce the stigma of seeking help for substance abuse and addiction, the children of the Buguri community libraries performed two plays in 9 communities.
Financial services: Financial inclusion is necessary for waste pickers both to manage their work and access social security. While the focus has been on financial awareness in the last few years, in Phase 2, we will focus on financial services—access to low-interest loans for livelihood, and updating documents required for social security. The aim is to ensure that waste pickers, women especially, have access to financial instruments and agency to use those instruments for their own needs and aims. 

Our Impact so Far:
  • Over 2,000 waste pickers and family members have attended financial literacy programmes, learning how to use banking and post office savings accounts to save and invest their funds for their and their children’s future
  • 1,250 waste pickers have been given financial services.
Buguri Children’s Programme: Our community libraries in Banashankari and Jyothipura work on enhancing children's wellness and safe spaces through therapeutic care and awareness interventions. On a deeper individualised level, we use therapeutic practices - Creative Arts Therapy, Play and Art Therapy, and one-on-one counselling sessions in predefined areas to help the children understand and cope with their challenges.

Our Impact so Far:
  • We have conducted Creative Arts Therapy and Play Arts therapy with multiple batches for children in Banashankari, Jyothipura and Huskuru, supporting the children’s emotional growth and creative skills
  • Children in distress or need of such support have received one-on-one therapy (with over 100 sessions across the 4 years).
  • In Kadabagere, we have established a care centre for 40 children to support their nutritional and educational needs as well as their safety and security.
Mental Health: is our nascent initiative to address the mental health concerns of the community; offer increased awareness of mental health concerns, access to peer counselling and other therapeutic support and build a community engagement with mental health support.

Our Impact so Far:
  • Our in-house peer counsellors have provided counselling services for families and individual members of the community and conducted nearly 700 sessions so far.
Family Violence: is a major new area of work. The number of women who will move out of an abusive relationship is few, and accessing the criminal justice system only in extremely abusive cases. While individual intervention continues, we intend to develop a support system in the community, with peer counselling teams that will also address children’s dropouts from school and an integrated approach against child marriage.

Our Impact so Far:
  • With CMHLP, we have trained 13 waste pickers and their family members as  'Family Violence Prevention Champions' to provide mental health support and act as mental health support facilitators for their communities.
  • 1,250 waste pickers have been given financial services.
Building agency: of waste pickers through handholding and enhancing individual and group leadership through our platform “Namma Jagali” (Our Space). Our leadership training over the past two years has encouraged waste pickers to blossom into leaders who are capable of addressing conflicts and needs and resolving them through negotiations where possible.

Our Impact so Far:
  • We hold regular “Namma Jagali” sessions to prioritise and solve local issues in 6 communities and intend to spread this initiative to 6 more in Phase 2.
  • Over 200 waste pickers have taken our Leadership Development programme, learning to advocate for their community and needs. Several of these leaders have gone on to speak up for their community at local, national and international platforms!
Research and documentation: to publicise and raise awareness of the important contributions made by waste pickers, highlighting especially their contribution to climate change mitigation and economic savings for urban local bodies.

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