Compañeros/as of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Waste Pickers (Red Lacre), in this very moment we are living through one of the biggest violations of our right to work as waste pickers, as the municipal landfill company Chureca de Managua has displaced us from our workplace which for decades provided us with solid waste, our source of livelihood.
The village of Gouy-Gui burned Thursday, January 19 and almost 70 waste pickers have lost their possessions. Our partners came to us and even the Minister of Public Health came to see the site of the fire.
In the 1990s the Tshwane municipality in South Africa engaged in a number of failed projects with waste pickers. These included a project that hired waste pickers to make crafts out of recyclable material. It also included at a private company with interests in waste management helping waste pickers to set up cooperatives and run buy-back centres for the cooperatives. However the positive that came out of these failures was that waste pickers formed committees on dumps and this provided the base for independent organizing. But what lessons and openings for organisation emerged in this period?