Cash From Waste Picking Helps Put Food On Family Table

Money earned from waste picking has been Taraivini Dimaiwai's source of income for the past 10 years.
01 Jul 2022 16:53
Cash From Waste Picking Helps Put Food On Family Table
Ministry of Health and Medical Services Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong (sitting, second from left) with participants during the Fiji Women’s Crisis Center informal waste picker training in Koronivia on June 21, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

Money earned from waste picking has been Taraivini Dimaiwai’s source of income for the past 10 years.

It is a job she will not be shy about when confronted with words like”nasty” and “disgusting”.

“People always talk about this work, and it gets me sometimes but then I realise I feed y family,” she said.

“It is never an easy job having to be stigmatised almost everyday.”


The 36-year-old recalls how people would name-shame her while picking up scrap and other income-generating materials in Lautoka.

“I’m not the only one doing this . There are many others, and they go through the same thing,” she said.

“What’s there for me to be shy of? It’s getting money at the end of the day.”


When she got married in 2017, Ms Dimaiwai continued to help put food on the table and provide a roof over their heads as her husband was offered a chance o pursue his tertiary education.

“When the weight of managing a family fell on my shoulders, I remained firm and continued to pick up waste,” said the Lomaiviti native.

“There were days when my husband needed financial help and I provided. He is a full-time student, so he studied all day and that did not give him the chance to work. I work on our behalf.”

Her income also helps send her children to school. They have 5 children, with the eldest in Year 3.


Ms Dimaiwai will soon be rewarded for her hard work as her husband’s are near completion.

“I can earn around $80 a day if I spend all day.”

“Given that I have to look after my family who are all in school, I usually spend lesser hours at the dumpsite. I make more than $200 in a week. The more materials you find, the more money you get.”

She was among 13 other women waste pickers who graduated from a week-long informal waste picker training last week by the Fiji Women Crisis Centre, in partnership with Waste Recyclers Fiji Limited and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.



Advertise with us

Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.

By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.

Rewa Diwali Promo Banner
For All Fiji Sun Advertising
Fijisun E-edition