Mother Forges Ahead Despite Negativity Aimed At Her

The mother of six is grateful that her waste collection job enabled her to raise her children single-handedly.
22 Jun 2022 16:57
Mother Forges Ahead Despite Negativity Aimed At Her
Lisi Namole. Photo: Sheenal Charan

Lisi Namole, a waste collector, continues to stand against the adversities thrown her way to provide for her family.

This is despite the opinion of naysayers.

The 60-year-old of Vunitogoloa, Rakiraki, Ra native has been collecting recyclable materials for the past 20 years.

The mother of six is grateful that her waste collection job enabled her to raise her children single-handedly.

“It is a privilege for me to do this work because it has enabled me to financially support my family,” Ms Namole said.

“For the past four years, I have been single-handedly looking after my children since my husband is in prison.

“Even though my husband was there for the past 16 years before going to prison, we were not able to sustain our livelihood, so I was the one who always provided for my family.

“Even though my husband earned, he prioritised his friends and relatives more than his own family.

“Four of my six children got married and I am looking after two of my children who are still in school.”

Ms Namole was only educated up until Year 10 and faced a lot of criticism when she decided to earn money by collecting recyclable materials.

“Ever since I left school, I have worked at several supermarkets as a cashier and today people look down on me because of what I do,” she said.

“My family members remarked that I have always been a cashier, so why would I want to collect what they called “rubbish” without knowing that those things could be recycled.

“Through 20 years of working; they have seen that it has sustained my family’s livelihood and I believe everyone who is going through a hard time can do this work.”

Ms Namole resides in Vunato Settlement in Lautoka and was part of the week-long workshop.

“Collecting recyclables is not something to look down on but something that encourages us to look after our environment and our daily lives,” she said.

Meanwhile, Department of Environment director, Sandeep Singh, during a week-long waste pickers workshop at the Tanoa Plaza Hotel in Suva, said waste management was a pressing issue that needs immediate action.

Ms Singh said waste management was a major concern with the potential to cause a negative impact on our national development activities including public health, the environment, food security, tourism and trade.

She said the efforts of women who collect waste complemented the measures taken toward climate adaptation and mitigation.

She commended people like Ms Namole and other women in the society for their efforts.

“While waste management collection services are available to the urban and some semi-urban communities in Fiji, your efforts in collecting and sorting waste at collection points play a huge role in ensuring that recyclable waste reaches recycling facilities and wastes are properly managed.”

Sixteen female informal waste pickers were part of the workshop, in partnership with the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Waste Recyclers Fiji Limited and International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Ms Singh urged Fijians to contribute toward proper waste management.



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