Mumbai One of the more unusual, and innovative, of the programs associated
with ACORN Inte
and ACORN India’s organizing of the Dharavi Project with ragpickers in this huge mega-slum has been a partnership called “Dharavi Rocks” between our ACORN Foundation (India) and the Blue Frog jazz club in the central part of the city. Vinod Shetty, ACORN’s director in Mumbai, was able to fashion the partnership out of the imagination and persistence of linking a friend of a friend of his brother (who also runs a new jazz club in Bangalore!) with one of the principals in the Blue Frog club which has become prominent in the music scene in the several years since in opened. The heart of the deal is that six times a year, the Blue Frog will provide the artists and ACORN will supply the audience and the venue in Dharavi. The idea had begun with a group of Tamil rappers and then advanced with the Blue Frog to include the Boxettes a lively women’s band from the UK and a Norwegian rapper when they visited the club, and the rest, as we say, is rock n’ roll!
Vinod is careful to give ample credit to the French-native who manages the club for having the energy and understanding of the impact, particularly on our young ragpickers, but also getting the fact that it would
From the National Geographic article featuring ACORN International ragpickers.
From National Geographic Article
Mumbai Vinod Shetty, ACORN India’s Director, and I had been meeting for hours along Juhu Road at the Sip ‘N Munch going through our work list of what needed to be done on campaigns around remittances, the Commonwealth Games, and multi-national food contractors and their labor law violations. We had discussed the great progress of our Dharavi recycling center. He had told me the good news that Joseph Campana’s project for us of producing a book that would support our Dharavi work finally had a publisher in Harper-Collins-India. We had talked about the prospects for acquiring a set of scales and a crushing machine to be able to raise the prices for our plastic recycling and increase our waste pickers wages. We had checked the dates and filings on our paperwork for the ACORN Foundation (India). We had discussed our efforts to repackage and sell products being produced in Dharavi for Diwali and other festival dates to our school recycling partners like Eco-Mundial and the American School. We had taken notes for reports owed to our friends at BCGEU and SEIU. There were a lot of items ticked off the list.
Finally at that point Vinod pulled out a staff of glossy magazines and newspapers with almost a blush. The magazines ran the gamut. One was the Clean India Journal which focused on environmental progress for companies, contractors, and others in India and featured our work in September in a piece called, “Waste Matters for Green Workers” about our ragpicker organization in Dharavi. Another in a the “green” issue of an upscale fashion monthly called Jade and style magazine was entitled “Green Heroes: Ragpickers or City Savers?” (Access both on our website at www.acorninternational.org) Later he forwarded me another piece published on several websites by a Londoner which was not quite as gushing but referred to our ragpickers as “invisbile heroes” in http://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/3790-Invisible-heroes-of-Dharavi. An article distributed for school children in a “weekly reader” style publication called Robin Age also contained a recent feature.