Mumbai, July 27, 2020: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded some very inspiring stories. 15-year-old Sanjana Runwal, Co-founder NGO, Clean-Up, is scripting one such story. She has been working diligently for unsung heroes who tackle our city’s waste crisis – the rag pickers. This is also one of the least recognised and appreciated segments of our society. In these difficult times with the COVID-19 crisis, the rag pickers are almost a forgotten lot. This is where Sanjana and her NGO stepped in to provide some relief to the city’s most vulnerable community.
During the weekend, Clean-Up organised an event for rag pickers at Bandra in association with MCGM ‘H’ West Ward, where Rajesh Hundekar, a member of Manashakti Research Centre, held a session on managing mental health and how to cope up with challenges during these difficult times. Manashakti Research Centre helps people achieve success and peace of mind through scientific means and social welfare activities. Mental well-being techniques are not something this segment of the society has access to and Sanjana is trying to bridge this gap. On this occasion, the Foundation also donated protective gear to the rag pickers to equip them for the ongoing monsoon season. They were provided with raincoats and gumboots, extremely critical safety gear for the rag pickers in the rain.
Commenting on this initiative, Sanjana Runwal says, “With low income, low life expectancy, no proper meals and very low dignity; the rag-pickers are often overlooked for what they do for the city. Currently, when the entire city is impacted due to this deadly virus, there is a necessity to extend our help to them in such a situation. This session will boost the morale of the rag-pickers and help them in a big way as there is no one to guide them on how to go about things in the present situation.”
Clean-Up’s aim is to improve the living conditions of those who keep our city clean, the garbage cleaners and rag pickers being prominent. The NGO has already donated numerous water purifiers to different ward offices of BMC, which have helped hundreds of garbage cleaners get access to clean drinking water. It has also provided safety kits for rag pickers and financial assistance for the education of their children.