Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2004
Association of Paper, Carton and Recyclable Material Pickers (Asmare)
This description of Dona Geralda Marçal's work was prepared when Dona Geralda Marçal was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
Brazilian catadores collect waste materials in urban garbage dumps, often sleeping alongside the trash from which they eke their modest living. Increased urban migration and exploitative middlemen only compound the problems of this economically stressed group. Dona Geralda Marçal, a catadora since age 8, has developed a new approach and an infrastructure to connect these garbage workers to the training and social services they need to become self-reliant professionals. Through her efforts, catadores move from extreme vulnerability in garbage dumps to socially secure, economically viable, and environmentally conscious citizenship.
The New Idea
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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