We are building a care centre for informal recyclers. Individuals who despite their massive contribution to society are still marginalised, victimised and treated as pariahs. The centre focuses on Nyaope addicted recyclers, (Nyaope is a heroin based drug), who make up a large part of this sector. Most recylcers have little to no access to healthcare services and they are shunned and abused by almost everyone.
Addicts are viewed negatively in every community, however these are addicts that make a positive contribution. Despite their cleaning up neighbourhoods and increasing the amount of waste recycled they are still targeted and abused. People look down on the work they do and even the buyers take advantage of them paying them less than they do “normal recyclers”. At hospitals they are turned back and laughed at for being dirty. Those that want to quit the drugs do not know where to go or how to get help.
At the centre we are building a database of the addict recyclers. This is used to ensure that those needing HIV and/or TB medication and treatment receive it. Many suffer from these particularly chronic illnesses, yet most do note receive any treatment. Help is also provided to those that want to go into rehab or get into an in-patient treatment centre. Addicts discharged are encourage to visit the centre where secondary care support is provided as well as providing opportunities to earn a living.
In doing such work we create awareness in communities about the value of recycling. We also raise awareness of the role and value of informal recyclers in keeping neighbourhoods clean. This work is crucial as most poorer communities lack awareness of climate change issues or the need to go green. Perhaps most importantly the centre is building a synergistic relationship that improves neighbourhoods and creates employment.