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They start their days incredibly early, between 3 and 5am, when the rubbish trucks arrive to deposit new waste. They spend up to 10 hours on the dumpsite and cannot work more than two days in a row due to the toxic fumes. For every bin bag-sized sack of bottles they sell, they get 5 taka… the equivalent of 5p.
Before our project, they had no other option but to take their children with them to work each day. Now though, things are different: “At Grambangla school they get a free lunch and education. Before, we had to take our children to the dumpsite. Now we know are dropping our children off in a safe environment.” - Tanzia
Grambangla goes beyond just supporting the children and ensures the mothers are better equipped to provide for their children. Sayeda, Tanzia and hundreds of waste picking mothers have formed savings groups. Sayeda has already started to benefit from the scheme: “I am a single mother and the only earner. With my savings from the Self Help Group I have invested 5,200 taka (£47) in a new scrap business where I buy bottles from other shopkeepers. I now have a higher income.
The stories I heard whilst on my visit were so moving, and the happiness, resilience and optimism of the children I met was truly heart-warming. Thanks to this project, the poorest families in Dhaka really do have hope for a brighter future away from the dumpsite.