April 2021

Suseela - Feature Story

Photo Credit: CARE India

Ms. Suseela, aged about 55 years, is an informal waste picker from Shakambari Nagar in Bengaluru. She leaves her home at 5am to collect waste and comes back at 9am to finish all the household chores and then goes back again for waste picking. Suseela lives with her husband who is a daily wage worker. The couple has two daughters and a son. The elder daughter sells baskets and the younger one works as a domestic help. Sadly, the whereabouts of their son is not known. 

Suseela goes for waste picking once in two days and sells it to a scrap shop every week. She earns up to Rs 600 – 700 per week from waste collection, with which she runs the household expenses and pays back the loans. Suseela has studied till the 6th standard, and has learnt to make baskets and embroidery from her daughter. She had to start waste picking to meet the family needs and also because she was scared to move to other alternatives as they do not have any kind of social support. Suseela also doesn’t want to be a burden to their daughters as they themselves have to look after their family, pay school fees for their children amongst other obligations. 

Suseela received information about CARE India’s life skill training and how it will help her to move into alternative livelihood, and she then attended a two-day life skill training programme. In her words, “Now I have the confidence to start a business of my own with basket making.” This is because the life skill training triggered her confidence level, skills and capabilities. CARE India is supporting her to prepare a business plan to start a basket making unit. 


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