Taking Global Citizenship to the Grassroots in India
All the action from our day on-ground! Melton Fellows and India GCC 2019 participants visit prime project centers in Bangalore, and get their hands dirty as we uncover Sustainability, Technology and Social Innovation at the grassroots!
GLOBAL CONCERNS INDIA
Global Concerns is an NGO working towards a more equitable community by focussing on education, environment and skill development. Brinda Adige, an activist, and leader, guided Melton Fellows throughout the day of the project visit, on 26 September 2019. The day began with the team embarking on a visit to the Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state legislature of Karnataka.
Melton Fellows then had a special opportunity to interact with an elite panel from the Human Rights wing, consisting of the Chairperson of Karnataka State Human Rights Commission D.H. Waghela, Inspector General of Karnataka Rupak Kumar Datta and a District Judge, K.B. Changappa. What followed was a lively and healthy discussion on topics related to the history of the Human Rights Commission and its functioning. Melton Fellows were acquainted with the working of the commission, and the necessity of upholding human rights in the current socio-political climate.
Following this, Fellows headed to the slum dwellings of a locality named L.R.Nagar in Bangalore. Here, they got a chance to interact directly with underprivileged children and their families. This was the most memorable part of the day, as the interaction gave them a peek into the households of the slum inhabitants, and helped the Fellows see and feel the world through their eyes and their mindset.
Alen Maletie, from ‘Bridge 47’, an organisation working on Global Citizenship Education, joined Melton Fellows on the visit. He described the visit as ‘insightful’ and ‘moving’ and appreciated this one-of-its-kind opportunity to understand the local problems in a community, and see their manifestations in society.
Another group of Melton Fellows and India GCC participants worked with Hasiru Dala on the day of the project visits. Hasiru Dala is a waste management organization that bridges the gap between two societal problems: waste segregation and management and ensuring justice for waste/rag-pickers in Bangalore.
Melton Fellows first visited the Organic Waste Converter Center at Jayanagar, Bangalore. Here, the group was introduced to the various categories of waste generated and the method of segregation, and Fellows themselves segregated different types of waste to understand the ground reality. Melton Fellows then visited the Dry Waste Collection Centre (DWCC) at Kumaraswamy Layout in Bangalore, a similar yet larger operating ground for waste segregation in the city. Both operations are being run by waste-pickers in the city.
The eye-opener from the day was the visit to the Electronic City Industrial Township Authority – Hasiru Dala Innovations Worksite (ELCITA). This waste management center processes nearly 10 tonnes of waste per day and recruits a large number of people to work in the facility. Most of the work is done manually, and employees of the worksite work in less-than-sanitary environments for minimum wage. As the Fellows were shown around the center, they were informed of the difficulties faced by the people working in the rag-picking business and employed in the waste management sector. It displayed the reality of the situation to the Fellows and encouraged them to deliberate on solutions to reduce waste, manage it better and help secure a sustainable livelihood for the scores of workers of this sector in the city.
For Sangeetha, a New Melton Fellow, the project visit was an enlightening experience. Seeing piles and piles of waste dumped in a corner and observing the workers toil amidst them throughout the day, forced her to reflect and analyze the environmental and socio-economic problems posed by waste today. According to her, technological solutions coupled with social activism can resolve most of the problems, timely interventions being the key necessity!