How women ragpickers from Ghazipur have turned into local artisans

Gulmeher has created alternate livelihood opportunities for women waste-pickers of Ghazipur and for women residing in the nearby area.
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Life for more than 40 women have changed ever since they joined Gulmeher. These women have come a long way from being ragpickers of Delhi’s biggest landfill in Ghazipur to becoming local artisans making exclusive products from flower waste. 

Gulmeher has created alternate livelihood opportunities for women waste-pickers of Ghazipur and for women residing in the nearby area. On a usual day, these women make their way to the nearby phool mandi at 6 am to collect flower waste. After the long segregation and sun drying process, these flowers are ready to be turned into exquisite art.

Making a healthy and comfortable livelihood for women residing in nearby villages was the prime focus at Gulmeher. These women now earn around Rs 7,000-8,000 per month, which helps them run their house and provide education for their children.

 

Since the work requires fine skills, these women have been trained professionally.  They make exclusive products like diaries, diyas during Diwali, rakhis during Rakshabandhan, cloth bags, coasters, and more.

They have also been taught financial and management skills. Now, they have their own bank accounts to save money and can even avail loans at nominal rates.

While there are many benefits from the work they do, the social and sustainable outcomes have been more satisfying. The women work for fixed hours, six days a week, and have been able to transform their lives

During the pandemic, none of them lost their jobs. Rather, they stitched more than 200 masks from fresh and clean cloth everyday and distributed them in the nearby areas to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

So far, the women have recycled more than 8,000 kilograms of paper and around 15 tonnes of discarded flowers out of the landfill. Their products reflect the hard work they do and their stories of transformation.

 

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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