YCS volunteers Suhas, Mithilaj, Sana, Sudhir, Arvind, Sourabh reflect on engaging with a community of rag pickers.
Seemapuri is that part of the capital city of India where everyday tons and tons of waste materials are collected and recycled. Situated in the north east of Delhi, Seemapuri comprises of a large community engaged in rag picking. The age group of these rag pickers varies from four years to 80 years. Majority of the people are illiterate and those who are literate have poor quality of education.
What’s strange to know is that without any formal education, many rag pickers earn an average income of INR 15,000 a month. This is ironic since much of the educated Indian youth is unable to earn half of this. However, for most, Seemapuri wakes early morning and sleeps late to make ends meet. Though some do have resources, all of them lack dignity and respect.
Project Concern International along with Etasha Society is trying to work with the youth in Seemapuri by developing their employability skills. However, working in Seemapuri is not easy. “My one month of volunteering work was full of challenges and it was difficult interacting with the community”, shares Mithilaj, a YCS volunteer. The volunteers tried to make the local people aware on a range of things but in turn got educated by them. We learnt that our thinking and attitude makes us what we are.
We, the YCS volunteers conducted door to door survey to mobilise young people to attend the computer training and enhance their job skills. Though tough initially, we later managed to surpass our goal of getting 20 youth and actually got 40 youth interested to participate. We also reached out to school dropouts and oriented them on options to continue formal education through open schooling. In this process, we build a good relationship with the community. YCS has been an interesting journey; we are glad of having made a difference through our efforts and touched many lives.