Juvenile bank infuses hope among Varanasi's rag pickers

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Varanasi, May 24 : Rag pickers, who were once addicted to drugs, are now interested in putting their earnings in a bank for juveniles that has come up in Varanasi.

A self-help group called the Vishal Bharat Sansthan has started this bank with the objective of ensuring social security for these rag pickers.

"The problem with these rag pickers is that they do not have any social security. Even if they need just 10 rupees, they have to approach moneylenders, and due to the dearth of funds, parents pawn off their kids for 500 rupees. Now, these children earn 20-25 rupees every day," said Rajiv Shrivastava, the President of the Vishal Bharat Sansthan.

"So for them, we have started a children's saving scheme (Bal Bachat Kosh) under the Vishal Bharat Sansthan, which is managed by these children, who are working here as managers and on other various posts. And today, they are saving 10-15 rupees everyday which is ensuring their social security," added Shrivastava.

The bank opens up an account with a mere 50 paise, and thereafter monitors each of the rag pickers to see that they add to their respective kitties.

Osama, who earns 15-20 rupees daily by selling the garbage picked from the roadsides, says: "Earlier, I used to spend my earnings on smoking and other things. But now whatever I earn by picking garbage, I deposit it in the bank. And with enough savings, I will buy books and will study in school."

These savings have certainly taken these children from harmful habits.

At the end of every week, the deposited money is transferred to a Government-owned commercial bank, which has also opened accounts in the name of these children.

Considering the popularity of the bank, there are plans to open at least 10 more branches in the state, thus allowing these rag pickers to at least visualize a better tomorrow. By Girish Dubey

ANI

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