The Body Shop India partners with Plastics for Change (PFC) India Foundation to ring in the festive season with a difference for female waste pickers.

With Project NARI ( Nutrition – Ability – Retraining – Inclusion), The Body Shop acts true to its community roots and activist heritage through its support for female empowerment and sustainability. This time they are focusing on India’s invisible frontline Covid19 warriors – female waste pickers.

Part of India’s 1.5 million waste pickers collecting over 6,000 tonnes of plastic every day, female waste pickers go unrecognized as essential workers. Despite keeping our streets and cities clean, most waste pickers work without protective equipment. And they suffer from a lack of financial stability and adequate access to healthcare. Due to the COVID19 pandemic, prices offered for plastic waste have collapsed leading to rampant joblessness and severe poverty. 

Project NARI

Project NARI is a grassroots initiative for female waste pickers in partnership with PFC Foundation in Bengaluru, Karnataka, focussed on four vital pillars namely Nutrition – Ability – Retraining – Inclusion. Specifically designed to address the pressing economic and social issues that female waste workers face. The project will directly benefit women waste pickers to positively impact their financial, health and family’s well-being in the long-term.

The Body Shop has set up Project N. A. R. I . fundraising to support these women waste pickers and set up Project N. A. R. I donate across all its stores and online to allow for voluntary consumer donations of INR 20 from its customers. For every customer donation, the Body Shop will donate an equivalent amount for this cause.

Project NARI includes systemic interventions spanning 6 months which are required for sustainable, on-ground impact in reducing health & financial risks faced by female waste pickers. The program also includes strong measures of financial inclusion. They are, access to banking systems and cash incentives for female waste-pickers working within the Plastics for Change system to help source recyclable plastic, sustainably.

The project’s scope extends from safety and nutrition to capability-building and healthcare. Distribution of PPE kits (N-95 masks, caps, face shields, gumboots & gloves) to healthcare programs including awareness about maintaining social distancing at work and otherwise, amidst other preventive measures, form the elementary phase of the project.

As part of the gender inclusion measures of this program, PFC is specifically hiring female waste pickers and retraining them to take up plastic quality engineering roles. Each 3-month course with the entire cost of training, development, and stipends will be borne from the project funding to make them ‘job ready’ for placement into full-time employment. Financial inclusion for the female waste-pickers will include providing access to about 6-8 governmental social and financial security schemes which will lessen their economic vulnerability. In order to promote behavioural change towards savings, traceability, and transparency, cash incentivization will be deployed wherein the project will deposit an incentive of Re.1 for every 1kg of plastic traded with PFC verified scrap shops – directly into the bank accounts of the female waste picker.

Contribute to the Project NARI here.

Also Read: Rajkumari Ratnavati School, Jaisalmer: Monumental school that promotes literacy for girls

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