They were speaking to AYV about the ordeals they face while collecting empty water sachets for recycling. Some of the women are single parents claiming to be suffering from a range of illnesses they contracted as a result of the fumes emitting from the dumpsite.
Women and children are the most vulnerable in the dumpsite and they suffer mostly whenever it rains. Despite their deteriorated condition and challenges at the dumpsite these women see collecting empty water sachets and other recyclable waste as a quick way to find money for their livelihood.
Mafereh Turay a widow and a plastic recycler said she has been on this for more than five years to upkeep her children when her husband died some 15 years ago, noting that plastic recycling is the only way she can find money.
“If the government vows to help and relocate me from I will go, because the fumes is causing me to fall ill” she noted, adding that, she uses some of the money after selling the plastics to pay her rent and take care of her children.
She added that she has no other means of survival aside from recycling plastics and cables, noting that the only way they can make money is having 50kg of recyclable plastics every day which is very difficult.
“Initially we worked on credit basis with our buyers but now they are refusing and demanding for the plastics before giving us money,” she lamented.
Some specific policy or action for increasing access to finance will cover introducing a partial guarantee scheme to provide loans to the private sector entities and establishing funds to provide access to medium and long-term capital to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for women and youth. These were the exact words of President Bio during the State Opening of Parliament for women’s empowerment. But these women are asking whether they are not among the women of Sierra Leone because they are not receiving loans from the government.
Another speaker told AYV that she recycles plastics, rubbers and cables to have her daily living, adding that life in the dumpsite is terrible for them but they have no option but to embark on recycling because they receive no loans from the government.
“The fumes affect us and our children. During the process broken bottles, used needles and nails scratch us and even our kids that results to our falling sick while some of our colleagues even die of their sickness,” she disclosed.