ACORN India Featured in Award Winning Article in The Global Post

Illegal Recyclers Prevent India’s Mumbai from Choking on its Waste

Mansi Chouksey

India’s financial capital, Mumbai, generates 11,000 tonnes of waste daily. In the absence of a proper waste segregation and recycling system, the city’s only saving grace are thousands of unauthorized recyclers, who run their operations in Mumbai’s infamous Dharavi slums.

Dharavi, the biggest slum of Asia, is an eyesore to the neat and continually rising skyline of Mumbai. A labyrinth of thousands of small workshops and homes, Dharavi is located right in the heart of the maximum city, making it one of the most expensive pieces of land in India, housing the poorest of the poor. It is hard to believe that this mesh of shanties and narrow lanes, littered with garbage and flooded with sewage water, is what prevents the financial capital of India from choking in its own waste.

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Spread across 520 acres of land, Dharavi is the center of recycling of thousands of tonnes of waste that Mumbai generates every day. More than 5,000 single-room recycling units work relentlessly to skim through unsegregated and monumental quantities of waste to cull out metals, plastic, paper, and glass.

Laxmi Kamble, a single mother and a third-generation Dharavi resident said that recycling has been a business in the slum since independence.

Making of Dharavi

Dharavi came into existence in 1882 during the British colonial rule in India. An outbreak of bubonic plague in Mumbai prompted the British government to transfer some of the polluting industries to a piece of land that later came to be known as Dharavi. With the advent of mechanized technology, labor-intensive industries died out and Dharavi became the abode of migrant-waves that swarm the city every month.

Recycling eventually emerged as a profitable business. Director of Acorn Foundation (India), Vinod Shetty, said that it is hard to make profits for organized recycling businesses in India due to the lack of a system to segregate waste at the source and keep it segregated during the transit. Garbage trucks managed by Brihanmumbai Municipal Commission do not have provisions to carry segregated waste which is simply toppled inside the trucks and dumped in landfills on the outskirts of the city.

India’s largest and the oldest dumping ground, Deonar, is located in the eastern suburb of Mumbai. Deonar landfill occupies an area big enough to encapsulate more than 240 football fields. Set up in 1927, Deonar landfill now has mounds of trash that have attained a height equivalent to a nine-story building. In 2016, a fire broke out at the landfill. The dump continued to be on fire for four days, forcing 70 schools to dismiss classes.

A high disposable income and lack of awareness and concern for the environment among urban masses has led to a 105 percent rise in waste generation in Mumbai between 1999 and 2016. Recycling units in Dharavi play a huge role in intercepting recyclable items from getting dumped into a landfill and adding to Mumbai’s mounting waste crisis.

Supply Chain of Recycling

Through the decades, these unorganized recyclers have developed an organized and robust supply and demand network that contributes to Dharavi’s total annual turnover of US$1 billion. The smallest unit of this supply chain are ragpickers who skim through trash bins and landfills to pick out recyclable articles. A typical day for Balu, a ragpicker, starts with a glass of strong black tea and a snack. For the next 12 hours, he will be meticulously fishing out recyclable items from public trash bins. “You won’t believe the kind of things that I find in the garbage. Once I found a fully functional foot massager,” he said. On other days Balu makes less than $3 a day, which barely covers his food expense.

Sorting recyclable items from dumps exposes ragpickers such as Balu to a variety of health hazards. At 17, Balu complains of shortness of breath, but he cannot afford to consult a doctor or buy medicine. “It is a skill that you acquire at the cost of your health. Once I opened a bottle of liquid and spilled some of it on my hand. I think it was acid as it burnt the skin on my hand,” he said while showing a patch of burnt skin on his hand. “I don’t have a choice, rag-picking is the only way I can make a living.”

Recyclers also source material from Kabadiwalas. For decades, Indians have been selling recyclable household waste to these door-to-door collectors. The Kabadiwalas make rounds of residential areas while pushing their hand wagons, announcing their presence. People call them to their homes to sell paper, plastic, glass, and electronics. Many haggle to get the best price out of a kabadiwala for their discarded items. The kabadiwalas sell their purchase to recyclers in Dharavi for a paltry profit of 5 to 10 percent. The most organized of all these suppliers are scrap agents who buy large quantities of reusable waste auctioned by companies and then sell it for a profit.

Hours of Labor

Shirish Jani, a second-generation entrepreneur, is very proud of his family business which was started by his father in 1962. His 250 square feet recycling unit is packed to the rafters with cardboard, paper, and plastic barrels.

“We often buy plastic and cardboard through a scrap agent who has ties with the pharma and chemical companies. The purchased scrap is then transported to our recycling unit in Dharavi. After washing and processing we generate a profit of 10 percent,” said Jani.

Repackaging units with a small demand serve as clients for recyclers such as Jani.

Dharavi’s thirteen compounds have mounds of segregated colored plastic. Segregated plastic is ground and the granules are sold to packaging companies. However, the process of dismantling and sorting needs hours of labor.

Shadab Chaudhary left behind his wife and two daughters in his village in North India to come to Mumbai for work. The lack of blue-collar jobs in rural areas stimulates waves of labor migration to Mumbai. Shadab works 12 hours every day and sleeps on the pavement to save enough money to send home. “I get paid Rs.10,000 ($144) a month, this is the best you can get here,” he said.

Second Life

Metal extraction from e-waste to the refurbishing of second-hand home appliances, there is nothing that cannot be used or reused in Dharavi. At 18, Sandeep Soni is the proud owner of a second-hand home appliance shop that supports his family of six. A customer can buy a functioning washing machine at one-third of its original price from his shop. “We even give a guarantee of three months,” he said. On days with slow business, his staff consisting of three teenage boys sit in the dark backroom to extract copper from discarded electronics which fetches him about $5 per kilogram.

E-waste recycling in Dharavi is not as popular as plastic, paper, and glass, owing to the hazardous nature of the extraction techniques. The metal extractors at Dharavi employ two to three workers at a time to extract profitable quantity of metals. Workers sit in an assembly line fashion with each taking a different set of responsibility during the extraction process. Javed* has been making his living through metal extraction from discarded e-waste for over a decade now. “I extract metals after taking apart electronics. There is a huge market for metal extraction from PCBs but I lack knowledge and equipment,” he said.

Governmental Guidelines

In 2016, the Government of India introduced Extended Producer Responsibility to ensure that the industries associated with plastic and electronics take the onus of recycling end-of-cycle products by establishing collection systems. Since 2016, the Central Pollution Control Board has been cracked down on some of the major electronics companies in India for not complying with the norms. According to the same set of rules, the dismantling of e-waste is only allowed to be done by authorized recyclers in workshops equipped to carry out the processes with compliance to the central government’s 2016 guidelines for e-waste management.

For Dharavi’s e-waste recyclers such as Javed, it is impossible to execute environmentally safe dismantling of e-waste, and there is no way for him to acquire an authorization to conduct his business legally.

“We have a hand-to-mouth existence. We have neither time nor capital to invest in compliance. My business may not be legal but it is essential. E-waste recyclers in an unorganized sector not just earn a living through recycling, but also process tonnes of e-waste, which is beyond the capacity and means of recyclers in the organized sector,” he said.

Acorn Foundation (India) Director Shetty works closely with recyclers in Dharavi to provide them with legal advice and solicit licenses and permits on their behalf. He calls the situation of Dharavi recyclers an epitome of Catch-22. “Excluding the unorganized sector from the recycling ecosystem is a mistake. Organized recycling units do not have the benefit of cheap migrant labor and a seamless supply network,” he said. “Only people who are destitute and desperate for work will put such hard labor to make a meager living.”

For Shadab and Javed, the pros and cons of their profession hold little importance. “I don’t understand legalities associated with my business. I try my best to keep my workers safe and only extract metals that can be easily extracted,” said Javed.

For Shadab, the illegal status of his workplace makes no difference. “What would you choose between supporting your family now and developing a new set of skills in an attempt to find some other kind of legal job,” Shadab said.

Environmentalists, organized recyclers, electronics, and plastic product manufacturers and the government are yet to devise a sturdy waste management system in India. Meanwhile, thousands of recyclers and labors in Dharavi continue to process the waste generated by the millions of inhabitants of Mumbai.


*Name of the metal extractor Javed has been changed to protect his identity.


This article won The Globe Post’s 2019 writing contest.

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ACORN News April 2019

ACORN Canada

Hello

Le texte français suit l’anglais

We’ve had recent screenings of “The Organizer” to 65 people in Philly, at the offices of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project and 45 people at the Maysles Documentary Center in NYC, including old ACORN veteran organizers and leaders. We also showed clips along with a discussion about labor organizing at Georgetown in Washington, DC. Training continues in Milwaukee with Amani United, including planning campaigns to save a bus line through the neighborhood and efforts to launch a community benefits campaign with the Democratic National Convention, scheduled for July 2020. We have reconnected with CASA, the immigrant rights organization based in Maryland, and did a door-knocking training with their 20 community organizers. CASA is interested in further help with their expansion to 7 other states in addition to Maryland, Virginia, and central Pennsylvania where they work now, as well as assistance in creating additional classes of membership along the lines of ACORN’s experience. Also, there are discussions of a partnership internationally with their membership and ACORN’s in Africa. They have several thousand Cameroonian members centered around White Oak, MD, so initial discussions are focusing on ACORN’s work in Cameroon. We’re still awaiting final confirmation on training and consulting work for Roma Standing Conference in Bulgaria for 30 organizers in August. The Toronto director of “The Organizer” is trying to organize a showing in Toronto on the Friday before the ACORN Canada convention. Campaign training with InAdvance in Oakland for 25 organizers is scheduled in May, and the ACORN Canada HO/LO meeting is in April. We also have Irish tenant groups considering affiliation with ACORN in April; the Frankfurt team is moving to register to begin organizing with ACORN in June, and ACORN’s affiliate in France has started an organizing drive on expansion to Toulouse!

Wade, ACORN International Chief Organizer

See some more highlights below.

ACORN around the world

Fighting for the right to housing in Ottawa
ACORN members and allies rallied for affordable and liveable housing in the city. Market rents have increased by approximately one third in the last decade while area median income increased by only four percent. Meanwhile, many tenants are subject to maintenance issues, limited heat and hot water, cockroaches and bed bugs, and inaccessible buildings are waiting for 5-10 years on the affordable housing waitlist. ACORN’s demands include inclusionary zoning, non-profit and co-op housing on government land, action to tackle renovictions, and landlord licensing. The rally ended with ACORN members chanting, “Fight, fight, fight, housing is a right!”

Fighting for workers’ rights in Lyon
On March 20, about 60 subcontracted workers organized within UNITI rallied alongside activists from Lyon. They blocked Primark and put the leader of the company, Protectim, on notice for unpaid hours and poor working conditions.

Victory in Douala! Water for Bepanda Bonewanda residents after 6 years
Thanks to the organizing of members of OnEstEnsemble, Camwater has finally taken action to fix water problems for many households. In 2013, the water network was destroyed for the construction of the Boulevard de la République. Despite the lack of water in the neighborhood, local residents continued to receive water bills. After a meeting with the Regional Director, a water pipe was laid to reconnect households but only on the condition that the meter rental fees accumulated for 6 years are paid. On Wednesday, March 20th, 2019, the residents mobilized and blocked Camwater, demanding that their water is restored. A delegation was sent to negotiate, and many commitments were made, including the immediate descent of a Camwater field team to begin reconnecting residents of Bepanda Bonewonda. Victory! The people are again connected to the water network.

Return of hot water in Aubervilliers, a vital victory for tenants!
Since January, residents of five towers in Aubervilliers were regularly deprived of heating and hot water, causing children to become sick, and greatly inconveniencing residents. On Monday, March 25, Alliance Citoyenne occupied the building owner’s office. The pressure worked and by Tuesday, March 26th, hot water and heating were restored. Alliance Citoyenne still called for a rally to keep the pressure on. Fifty people came out to give a last warning to the landlord, before leaving each other, saying: “Have a good shower!”

Local 100 fights for lead-free schools in Houston
The Houston Independent School District has refused to place lead water filters on school water fountains, even after spending $3 million to test them and finding high levels of lead in school water. Local 100 is demanding that all schools built before 1986, the year the Federal authorities disallowed lead use in any plumbing systems, be fitted with lead filters. If we can get lead out of our gasoline supply, we should be able to get it out of our water supply!

Dharavi Rocks! ACORN helps young people in Mumbai develop their talents
ACORN leads the celebrated youth music collective, Dharavi Rocks, as part of their work in informal arts learning. Dharavi Rocks helps to publically assert the human potential of Dharavi’s young people and builds the skills and ability of those who take part.

ACORN Kenya organizes for feeding programs!
ACORN is planning a campaign on the issue of feeding programs in the urban settlement of Korogocho. Members met with key stakeholders and held a small planning meeting. ACORN Kenya also hosted Cameroon ACORN International Organizer and Campaigner Eloïse for a week! The team was able to learn a lot about improving the organization as well as developing their campaigns.

Fighting for human rights in Tegucigalpa
ACORN Tegucigalpa is fighting for policy that focuses on human rights and the prevention of violence, and has been promoting the organization to students at the Catholic University of Honduras. ACORN also participated in a march for inclusion on International Autism Day.

UK ACORN fights for affordable transit, tenant protections and livable housing
Birmingham and Brighton have carried out a number of high profile member defense cases, with Brighton being mentioned in Parliament on March 13th. Bristol resisted three illegal evictions and ran a strategy session to develop its affordable housing campaign. Manchester helped to bring the Better Buses campaign up to 10,000 signatures, ran weekly doorknocking sessions, building on its Levenshulme local group drive. Newcastle’s ‘Three Sisters’’ tower block group won the installation of sprinklers and thermal CCTV in the garbage chutes where dozens of fires have started.

Toronto members demand repairs from corporate landlord
ACORN members and tenants held a rally to demand that corporate landlord, Q Residential, complete badly needed repairs. Tenants are fed up with repairs never being done on time. They demanded that Q Residential address: Bug infestations; mice and rats; building maintenance; elevator issues; and cracks in the buildings. Members have given the landlord five business days to arrange a meeting to sit down and discuss their issues, or they will escalate their campaign of direct action.

Bringing affordable technology to community members in Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia ACORN is collaborating with LakeCity Works to launch a Computer Enrichment Program! Donations of computers and other devices will be refurbished and sold at affordable prices, making them more accessible to more people.

ACORN Czech Republic spreads the word through comedy
ACORN has been working with famous Romani actor, Zdeněk Godla, who is interested in in the organization. After meeting with ACORN, he has recommended us to several Roma and other entrepreneurs. The organization is now working on preparing a larger cooperative project for affordable social housing. Stay tuned!

Members are getting organized in Liberia!
Thirteen towns held local leader elections and another three towns had elections for committee leaders, while other towns are preparing for elections. Leaders participated in training on a range of topics including storytelling, public speaking, and negotiation training. Next steps include sending letters to targets and local committee elections in newly identified towns.

ACORN Radio: The voice of the people!

Listen in to ACORN Radio to hear tales of organizing, member stories, local updates, and more!

Check out the schedule here 


Want to donate to ACORN International or get involved? Visit ACORN International 


 

Bonjour

Nous avons eu des projections récentes de “The Organizer” à 65 personnes à Philadelphie aux bureaux du projet de chômage de Philadelphie (Philadelphia Unemployment Project) et à 45 personnes au Centre de documentation de Maysles (Maysles Documentary Center) à New York, y compris d’anciens organisateurs et dirigeants vétérans d’ACORN. Nous avons également montré des clips avec une discussion sur la syndicalisation à Georgetown à Washington, DC. La formation continue continue à Milwaukee avec Amani United, y compris les campagnes de planification pour sauver une ligne de bus dans le quartier et les efforts pour lancer une campagne de bénéfices sociaux avec la Convention nationale démocrate (Democratic National Convention), qui est prévue pour juillet 2020. Nous avons repris contact avec CASA, une organisation de défense des droits des immigrés basée dans le Maryland, et nous avons fait une formation de comment faire du porte-à-porte avec ses vingt organisateurs communautaires. L’organisation CASA est intéressée dans l’aide à leur expansion à sept autres États en plus de Maryland, de la Virginie et du centre de la Pennsylvanie, où ils travaillent actuellement, ainsi qu’une assistance pour créer de nouvelles catégories de membres sur le modèle de l’expérience ACORN. De plus, il y a les discussions d’un partenariat international avec leurs membres et ACORN en Afrique. Ils ont plusieurs milliers de membres camerounais concentrés autour de White Oak, MD, donc les discussions initiales se concentrent sur le travail d’ACORN au Cameroun. Nous attendons la confirmation finale du travail de formation et de consultation pour la conférence permanente des Roms (Roma Standing Conference) en Bulgarie pour 30 organisateurs communautaires en août. Le réalisateur torontois du film “L’organisateur” (The Organizer) essaie d’organiser une projection de film à Toronto sur le vendredi avant la convention ACORN au Canada. La formation de campagne avec InAdvance à Oakland pour 25 organisateurs communautaires est prévue en mai et la réunion d’ACORN Canada HO/LO se passera en avril. Nous avons aussi les groupes de locataires irlandais qui envisagent une affiliation avec ACORN en avril ; l’équipe de Francfort s’apprête à s’inscrire pour organiser avec ACORN en juin et une filiale d’ACORN en France a lancé une campagne de syndicalisation pour l’expansion à Toulouse!

Wade, Organisateur en chef d’ ACORN International

Voir quelques points saillants ci-dessous.

ACORN dans le monde

La lutte pour le droit au logement à Ottawa
Les membres et les alliés d’ACORN se rallient à la cause de logement abordable et vivable en ville. Les loyers du marché ont augmenté d’environ un tiers au cours de la dernière décennie, tandis que le revenu médian régional n’a augmenté que de 4%. D’un autre côté, beaucoup de locataires sont sujets à des problèmes d’entretien, à un chauffage, à une eau chaude limités, à des cafards, à des punaises de lit et à des bâtiments inaccessibles. Ils attendent entre cinq et dix ans sur une liste d’attente de logement abordable. Les demandes d’ACORN inclut le zonage d’inclusion, les logements coopératifs et à but non lucratif sur les terres du gouvernement, les mesures prises pour lutter contre les rénovations et les licences accordées aux propriétaires. Le meeting de protestation a fini par les chants des membres d’ACORN de “Fight, fight, fight, housing is a right!”

La lutte pour les droits des travailleurs à Lyon
Le 20 mars, une soixantaine de travailleurs sous-traités ont organisé au sein de l’UNITI avec le soutien d’activistes à Lyon. Ils ont bloqué Primark et ils ont mis en garde le chef de l’entreprise, Protectim, pour les heures non rémunérées et les mauvaises conditions de travail.

Victoire à Douala! De l’eau pour les résidents de Bepanda Bonewonda après 6 ans
Grâce aux efforts d’organisation par les membres d’OnEstEnsemble, Camwater a finalement pris des mesures pour résoudre les problèmes d’eau de nombreux ménages. En 2013, le réseau hydrique a été détruit à cause de la construction du boulevard de la république. Malgré le manque d’eau dans le quartier, les résidents locaux ont continué à recevoir des factures d’eau. Après une réunion avec le directeur régional, une conduite d’eau a été posée pour rebrancher les ménages, mais elle a été dépendre du principe que les frais des compteurs d’eau accumulés après six ans sont payés. Le mercredi 20 mars 2019, les habitants se sont mobilisés et ont bloqué Camwater, exigeant que leur eau soit rétablie. Une délégation a été envoyée pour négocier et de nombreux engagements ont été pris, y compris la descente immédiate d’une équipe de terrain de Camwater pour commencer à rebrancher sur le réseau les résidents de Bepanda Bonewonda. La victoire! Camwater a également créé d’autres engagements, notamment le remplissage régulier des réservoirs d’eau pour l’accès à l’eau potable des ménages qui ne sont pas connectés au réseau.

Le retour de l’eau chaude dans la ville d’Aubervilliers, une victoire vitale pour les inhabitants!
Depuis janvier, les résidents de cinq tours à Aubervilliers étaient régulièrement défavorisés de chauffage et d’eau chaude, ce qui rendait les enfants malades et gênait grandement les résidents. Le lundi 25 mars, l’Alliance Citoyenne occupait le bureau du propriétaire de l’immeuble. La pression a fonctionné et le mardi 26 mars, l’eau chaude et le chauffage ont été restaurés. L’Alliance Citoyenne a toujours appelé à un rassemblement pour maintenir la pression. Cinquante personnes sont venues pour donner un dernier avertissement au propriétaire, avant de se quitter en disant, «Prenez une bonne douche!”

La section locale 100 se bat pour les écoles sans plomb à Houston
Le district scolaire indépendant de Houston a refusé d’installer des filtres à eau en plomb sur les fontaines d’eau à l’école, même après avoir dépensé trois millions de dollars pour analyser leurs effets sur l’eau et après avoir trouvé des niveaux élevés de plomb dans l’eau des écoles. La section locale 100 exige que toutes les écoles construites avant 1986, année où les autorités fédérales ont interdit l’utilisation de plomb dans les systèmes de plomberie, soient équipées de filtres en plomb. Si nous pouvons retirer le plomb des réserves nationales d’essence, nous devrions pouvoir le sortir de notre réserve d’eau!

“Dharavi Rocks!” ACORN aide les jeunes de Mumbai à développer leurs talents
ACORN mène “Dharavi Rocks,” un collectif de musique de jeunesse célébré, dans le cadre de leur travail d’apprentissage informel des arts. Dhavari Rocks aide à affirmer publiquement le potentiel humain des jeunes de Dharavi et à renforcer les compétences et les capacités de ceux qui y participent

 

 

ACORN Kenya organise des programmes d’alimentation!
ACORN prépare une campagne sur la question des programmes d’alimentation dans l’implantation urbaine de Korogocho. Les membres ont rencontré des principaux intervenants et ont tenu une petite réunion de planification. ACORN Kenya a également accueilli Eloïse, Organisateur international et militante d’ACORN au Cameroun, pour une semaine! L’équipe a beaucoup appris sur l’amélioration de l’organisation et le développement de leurs campagnes.

La lutte pour les droits de l’homme à Tegucigalpa
ACORN Tegucigalpa lutte pour la politique qui focalise l’attention sur les droits de l’homme et la prévention de la violence. L’organisation a fait la promotion de l’organisation auprès des étudiants de l’Université catholique du Honduras. ACORN a participé aussi dans une manifestation pour l’inclusion sur la journée internationale de l’autisme (International Autism Day).

Les membres de Toronto exigent des réparations des propriétaires de l’entreprise
Les membres et les locataires d’ACORN se sont rassemblés pour exiger que le propriétaire de l’entreprise, Q Residential, effectue les réparations indispensables. Les locataires sont exaspérés avec le fait que les réparations ne sont jamais effectuées à l’heure. Ils exigent que Q Residential aborde : les infestations d’insectes, les souris et les rats, l’entretien des bâtiments, les problèmes d’ascenseur et des fissures dans les bâtiments. Les membres ont donné au propriétaire cinq jours ouvrables pour organiser une réunion et discuter de leurs problèmes, sinon ils vont intensifier leur campagne d’action directe.!

ACORN du Royaume-Uni lutte pour des transports en commun abordables, des protections pour les locataires et des logements viables.
Birmingham et Brighton ont effectué un certain nombre d’affaires de défense des membres, et Brighton a été mentionné par le parlement le 13 mars. Bristol a résisté à trois expulsions illégales et a organisé une séance de stratégie pour développer sa campagne de logements abordables. Manchester a aidé à porter la campagne “Better Buses” à 10 000 signatures et a organisé des séances hebdomadaires pour faire du porte-à-porte. Ils ont construit sur son effort de groupe local Levenshulme. Un groupe de la tour de grande hauteur appelé “Three Sisters” de Newcastle a gagné l’installation de gicleurs et de vidéosurveillance thermique dans les goulottes et les boîtes où des dizaines d’incendies ont commencé!

L’introduction de la technologie abordable aux membres de la communauté en Nouvelle-Écosse
ACORN de la Nouvelle-Écosse collabore avec LakeCity Works pour le lancement d’un programme d’enrichissement d’ordinateur! Les dons d’ordinateurs et d’autres appareils seront remis à neuf et vendus à des prix abordables. Cela les rendra plus accessibles à plus de gens.

ACORN République tchèque passe le message par la comédie
ACORN ont travaillé avec l’acteur rom, Zdeněk Godla, qui est très célèbre et est intéressé par l’organisation. Après avoir rencontré ACORN, il nous a recommandé à plusieurs entrepreneurs roms et autres. L’organisation travaille maintenant pour préparer un projet coopératif plus vaste pour le logement social abordable. Restez à l’écoute!

Les membres s’organisent au Libéria!
Treize villes ont tenu des élections de dirigeants locaux et trois autres villes ont tenu des élections pour les dirigeants du comité, tandis que d’autres villes se préparent pour les élections. Les dirigeants ont participé à un stage de formation à l’enseignement sur un éventail de sujets, y compris les contes, la capacité de s’exprimer en public et la formation en négociation. Les prochaines étapes consistent à envoyer des lettres aux cibles et aux élections des comités locaux dans les villes récemment identifiées.

Radio ACORN : La voix du peuple !

Écoutez la radio ACORN pour entendre des récits d’organisation, d’histoires de membres, de mises à jour locales et plus encore ! Consultez l’horaire ici 

Vous voulez faire un don à ACORN International ou vous impliquer? 

Visitez ici 

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Organizers’ Forum International Dialogue in Sri Lanka 2019

Dates:    September 8th through 13th (Sunday through Friday)

Place:     Columbo

Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) is an island country below the Indian subcontinent located in the Indian Ocean.

Population
• 2018 estimate 21,670,000[3] (57th)
• 2012 census 20,277,597[4] (57th)
• Density 327/km2 (846.9/sq mi) (43rd)
GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate
• Total $292.793 billion[5] (61st)
• Per capita $13,500[5] (91st)
GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate
• Total $92.504 billion[5] (66th)
• Per capita $4,265[5] (109th)

Quoting from Wikipedia:  Sri Lanka…

officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is historically and culturally intertwined with the Indian subcontinent, but is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years.[10] It has a rich cultural heritage and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, date back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BC.[11][12] Its geographic location and deep harbors made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to the modern Maritime Silk Road.[13][14][15]

The current constitution stipulates the political system as a republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system. It has had a long history of international engagement, as a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Along with the Maldives, Sri Lanka is one of only two South Asian countries rated “high” on the Human Development Index (HDI), with its HDI rating and per capita income the highest among South Asian nations.[7] The Sri Lankan constitution accords Buddhism the “foremost place”, although it does not identify it as a state religion. Buddhism is given special privileges in the Sri Lankan constitution.[17]

The island is home to many cultures, languages and ethnicities. The majority of the population is from the Sinhalese ethnicity, while a large minority of Tamils have also played an influential role in the island’s history. Moors, Burghers, Malays, Chinese, and the indigenous Vedda are also established groups on the island.

The various ethnic groups united to end British colonial rule, but the British legacy insisted on communal representation that eventually pitted the majority Sinhalese against the minority (over 800,000) Tamil leading to civil war in 1983 over a number of issues involving language and jobs, including provisions that made the Tamil virtually stateless and unable to obtain citizenship in the emerging nation.  The Tamil Tigers was a well-known guerilla effort classified as terrorist by many nations.  Attempts at peace broke down a number of times until after more than twenty-five years with the help of the Indian army a military victory was achieved over the Tamil in 2009.

More recently, Sri Lanka was in the news over a constitutional crisis involving the president, prime minister, and parliament in the fall of 2018.  A popular prime minister accused of corruption was ousted by a political coalition that elected the president who after several years in office suddenly returned the former prime minister to that job triggering mayhem.  Eventually, he was force to resign in the stalemate between the president of the parliament.

The Organizers’ Forum is interested in meeting with a number of groups in order to evaluate the progress of the country a decade after its civil war as it tries to resolve the historic issues that have divided its people and undercut its institutions.  A delegation from the Organizers’ Forum had undertaken a similar mission a decade after the end of apartheid in South Africa in order to understand how deeply change had become embedded and shaped the country’s future.  Similarly, the Organizers Forum delegation in Indonesia was able to view the impacts of ethnic strife in that country that had experienced state terror during the Cold War and how it had adapted in unique ways.

In this time when the issue of climate change has global importance, the Organizers’ Forum is also hoping to learn more about how an island nation like Sri Lanka is making plans to deal with the potential impact of rising seas.  Some members of the delegation have discussed a side trip to the Maldives in order to see that country “while it’s still there,” since many scientists also project that by the end of the century it could be underwater.

Long thought of as an exotic country, Sri Lanka is now at the crossroads of a different kind of future, and the Organizers Forum delegation is seeking to better understand what we have to learn – and to offer – at this critical juncture.

The Organizers’ Forum is a project of the Labor Neighbor Research & Training Center.  Interested parties need to contact director@laborneighbor.org in order to reserve a place.  The Forum covers housing, most meals, and in-country transportation and events, while members of the delegation and their organizations cover transportation to and from Sri Lanka and cover a modest program fee that allows from planning and logistics to make this trip happen.  Please contact us at your earliest convenience and certainly not later than August 1st.  As always, the earlier plane reservations are made, the cheaper for the delegates.

A visa is required to North American, UK, and European visitors that costs about $30 USD and is available electronically within three working days or at the airport, but best advice is getting it earlier.

This will be a great trip!

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ACORN Around the World: January 2019

Le texte français suit l’anglais

Thibaut, the organizer from Brussels is in his final month of training in New Orleans. In February, I will be traveling to visit our other trainees in Albania and Bulgaria, as well as spending three days in Frankfurt assisting the development of a potential ACORN-affiliated tenants’ union there. Along with UK ACORN’s Nick Ballard, I am also visiting Dublin to advance the prospects of a potential affiliation in Ireland.

News in the United States is encouraging. The new year brings an organizer with ACORN and the Home Savers Campaign in Detroit. This month, we are also starting a six-month training and consulting contract with Amani United, a community organization in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the Dominican Center, potentially also an ACORN affiliate. Campaigns: Lessons from the Field was published in December and is now being distributed. “The Organizer” is scheduled for a week of showings at the Zeitgeist Theater in New Orleans in January and at a theater in Harlem in March, with more dates on an East Coast swing at the same time. Finally, initial steps are being taken to develop internet and terrestrial radio stations in Uganda in January. Watch this space…

Mark your calendars! The international staff and leaders meeting date is set for Friday, July 19th and Saturday, July 20th in Lyon, France. See ACORN International’s full 2019 calendar here.

Wade

See some more highlights below.

ACORN Around the World

UK ACORN members double down on housing campaigns

ACORN members have been organizing for affordable, livable housing across the UK. Brighton members carried out several actions as part of an ongoing campaign against a slum landlord, as did Birmingham members. Bristol members focused on their affordable housing campaign, turning out large numbers to a carol-singing demonstration, campaign and member defence meetings. In Newcastle, members have been building a new local group covering three tower blocks. Sheffield members held their Quarterly General meeting, elected officers and held several door-knocking sessions. Manchester ACORN organized a training session for members with ACORN’s National Organiser, as well as phone banking and door knocking sessions and a Christmas social and meeting.

Exciting meetings for Kenya ACORN!

Kenya ACORN recently hosted the ACORN International’s Chief Organizer, Wade Rathke. Wade shared a lot of information to benefit Kenya ACORN’s organizing work! We also visited the only local radio station in Korogocho (KOCH FM) to discuss a potential partnership with the officials of the station.

Fighting for child care in Delhi

As a part of the broader network of Delhi-based organizations working on issues affecting kids aged 0-6 years, Delhi ACORN launched a campaign demanding a creche in the local community. Meetings were organized in Lalita Park, Mandawali and Shashi Garden. Later, district level larger meetings will be organized collectively to set the demand of creche on the agenda of political parties. The general election is scheduled for March/April 2019.

Czech ACORN finds important artwork during demolition

During the demolition of a villa on the outskirts of Prague, workers from the ACORN Czech Republic movement found a collection of paintings from Jewish painter Gertruda Kauders, who died in a concentration camp during WWII. The paintings had been kept between the walls, so that the Nazis could not destroy them during the war. The discovery is not only important for the Czech Jewish community, but is also a major breakthrough in Central European art history. As a result, the Jewish community is organizing a joint exhibition with ACORN Czech Republic! News reports here and here.

Victory! Access to free drinking water in Douala

Douala 5e residents will finally have better access to drinking water as a result of the actions of OnEstEnsemble members to force Town Hall to repair defective boreholes. Actions taken include a petition signed by 200 people, a neighborhood walk from one water point to another, and a children’s theater stage at one of the defective boreholes. After a number of delays, work finally began in December, thanks to the perseverance of OnEstEnsemble members. Residents will quickly have access to free drinking water.

Experimental organizing for ACORN Italy!

ACORN Italy has been busy co-staging a community organizing course in Rome together with Community Organizing ONLUS, an Industrial Areas Foundation affiliate, marking the perhaps first time ever that the ACORN and IAF methods and visions have been blended into one, trying to take the best out of the two and make it one common experimental path. So far, the response has been fantastic and for ACORN Italy this represents a thrilling opportunity to do what ACORN International rightfully pushed them to do for a long time: real community organizing in Italy, and Vatican State too, since the course takes place on an urban farm next door to St. Peter’s!

Honduras ACORN board meets

The board of Honduras ACORN recently had their first meeting since formally registering.

Toronto ACORN delivers the gift of affordable housing to mayor

More than 40 Toronto ACORN members and 5 supportive city councillors turned out to City Hall to deliver holiday gifts during the mayor’s swearing-in ceremony. Members were eager to remind the mayor to keep his promise of making housing a #1 priority this term! They rallied outside City Hall before entering to deliver their house-shaped gifts under the mayor’s tree.

Hamilton ACORN’s housing platform packs a punch at City Hall

Hamilton ACORN released their Housing Platform at City Hall recently. The platform and accompanying report detail what the City of Hamilton needs to do to ensure affordable housing is preserved, and that tenants are ensured health and safety standards in their apartments. The platform urges the City to create an anti-renoviction and displacement strategy, a city-wide registration program for landlords and calls for a complete overhaul of the city’s property standards bylaws.

Ottawa ACORN members celebrate a successful year!

Members and allies enjoyed good food, TONS of prizes fundraised by some rockstar leaders and received awards at Ottawa ACORN’s People Power party. The highlight of the night was when member MCs gave out blooper awards to targets! 2018 was a year with lots to celebrate. Members made huge gains on campaigns like internet for all, inclusionary zoning, landlord licensing and payday lending and we’re expecting in 2019 to be bigger and stronger!

Victory! Members of the Alliance Citoyenne elected to the board of social housing authorities

Members had 3 victories in Grenoble and Aubervilliers. In the Grenoble Habitat, where have been campaigning since last April, tenants supported the Alliance and elected Fatiha Belhachemi. In another Grenoble housing authority, Marie Rodriguez (aka Xena) was elected in 2nd place. In Aubervilliers, Paris, Fatouma Camara was also elected. The first election campaign of the Alliance Citoyenne was a success, proving the strength ACORN’s organizing approach. After many direct actions to demand the renovation of apartments and the improvement of the public service, this victory marks a new stage.

ACORN Radio: The Video of the People!

Listen in to ACORN Radio to hear tales of organizing, member stories, local updates, and more!

Check out the schedule here and listen in at acornradio.org

Join ACORN International or volunteer.

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