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Sambhav Foundation

Our role in Saamuhika Shakti

As a part of the Saamuhika Shakti initiative, Sambhav Foundation aims to improve the earning potential of waste pickers by opening up alternative livelihood opportunities to them and their families. This will be done through skill and micro-entrepreneur development initiatives and employment support over a three-year engagement period.

Who we are

Sambhav Foundation, is a not-for-profit organisation that envisions a more equitable future, where everyone has a chance to prosper. It is committed to changing the lives of women, youth, and the intellectually challenged by empowering them with skills and linking them to sustainable livelihoods, via education, employment and entrepreneurship.

How we do it

The objective of the project has been to provide alternate means of livelihood to increase real income of candidates including women, migrant, aged and families of waste pickers, without disrupting the existing ecosystem and sustainably ensuring higher income, better social acceptance, lower financial risk and better working conditions.
In order to ensure access equitable opportunities for all, beauty, self-employed tailoring, data entry operators are the vocational courses on offer for women and youngsters from the waste picker communities in and around Bengaluru.
The primary impact includes training programs for waste pickers and their families with job oriented programs, workshops and Entrepreneur Development Program with hand holding the waste pickers through the initial on ramp. These programs have impacted more than 4,200 waste pickers directly and more than 15,000 of their family members.
As part of the collective impact, we actively explored ways to build a stable and decent livelihood for the waste picker community. With this in mind, three important interventions were planned.
Entrepreneurship Development Program – Apart from the employability course and handholding for entrepreneurship skill development, soft skills training was imparted to the candidates to ensure presentable, well-groomed candidates who can ace interviews, with their communication skills and resume.
Financial Literacy– awareness sessions on using mobile phone productively, knowledge to download apps, net Banking procedures, e- mail ID creation, linking phone numbers to their bank accounts and regular check on their transactions, helped them save their earnings and to lead stable financial lives.
Social Security - Support for opening bank accounts was enabled with Dvara Bank as a partner. For bank accounts to be created, social security details like, ID cards, address proofs among others had to be facilitated. Sambhav team supported waste pickers to apply and receive social security documents.

Pandemic Response

While livelihood building via skilling has been our primary focus, the outbreak of the pandemic led to expanding our efforts into the more urgent need of the hour, at that point, for the waste picker community. Sambhav Foundation identified ways to ensure an income for the waste picker community along with others, and ensured the community was supported via -
1) Alternative Livelihood Programs
2) Access to Hospital-Care
During Covid-19, the waste picker community, amongst other vulnerable communities, were supported by Sambhav’s 24/7 Help Desks at government hospitals in Bangalore for guidance
3) Preventive Healthcare
The COVID 19 vaccination drive was one of our big interventions. In the thick of a pandemic, the waste picker community was among the most exposed to medical waste due to irresponsible disposal of hospital and covid waste, leaving them in danger  of contracting the virus. Sambhav conducted mega vaccination drives, free of cost to the recipients, in multiple locations to ensure access to quality healthcare for vulnerable communities such as the waste pickers.

Impact Made

During Phase 1, Sambhav Foundation touched the lives of more than 50,000 individuals from waste picker communities across Bangalore through various interventions.
a) Individual Impact
b) Community Impact

Micro-entrepreneurship Program


Provide waste pickers with the skills they need to pursue alternative livelihoods if they so desire.

What we do:

To enable waste pickers to find alternative livelihood options - either within the waste management value chain or outside it. The team works to improve their knowledge of saving money, opening bank accounts, learning basic computer functions and expanding their digital literacy. Many waste pickers have moved on to starting small businesses using the skills they pick up at the training sessions.

How we do it:

The team conducts three levels of lifeskills training - starting with soft skills, progressing to digital and financial literacy, and finally to entrepreneurship development. Further, team also helps waste picker communities, particularly women, form collectives and access government schemes created for small entrepreneurs.
Collectivisation is a strategy to empower waste pickers in leadership and management roles, develop interpersonal relationships, understand saving and investment, learn and explore government schemes and services that may benefit them, and apply as a group for loans that will help them set up enterprises.

Activities and impact:

From the start of the project until December 2023, nearly 4,550 waste pickers have been trained across the three life skills programs run by the microentrepreneurship team.
After the training, many participants have shown interest in splitting their time between waste picking and income sources - such as creating handicrafts and baskets from trash, making and selling herbal soaps/oils/perfumes, setting up vegetable carts, grocery stores, tiffin centres, and tea stalls, selling jewelry, rearing goats, driving and joining other short-term courses like tailoring, crochet toy making and so on.
A total of 1,629 waste pickers have joined or started collectives; 69 collectives have been approved under the National Urban Livelihood Mission and received bank accounts. 1 federation of 10 collectives was also started. There are 85 community collectives and 35 DWCC collectives. 105 collectives have started lending money internally to help each other start small businesses.

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