This profile was prepared when Jyoti Mhapsekar was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
Almost 85 percent of ragpickers in the city of Mumbai are women who belong to the Dalit landless laborers community, the lowest caste in the caste system. Jyoti Mhapsekar organizes women who survive by ragpicking at city dumps into viable cooperatives, helps them win competitive contracts for waste-sorting and collection, and enables them to achieve economic independence and gain self-respect. In the process, she is promoting improved policies for waste management in India's urban areas.
The New Idea