Head of Recycling on the Go, Hefuhelava Kamaile,
Some concerning findings have been revealed by the Head of Recycling on the Go, Hefuhelava Kamaile, whereby students who are ambassadors of the program are subjected to name-calling.
During a roundtable discussion at the French Ambassador’s residence, Kamaile says Jai Narayan College has about 24 ROG Ambassadors and claims that students are labeling them as rubbish pickers.
Kamaile says these 24 are trained to advocate for waste management in their schools and communities, however, when they stepped into classrooms to carry out their practical checks on rubbish bins and sort out the waste, they were misunderstood and labeled as “rubbish pickers.”
“My first day on the job, early in the morning at 6.30 am I get called oh, here comes the mother of the rubbish pickers. That was a setback because it was very demoralizing for us especially when most of us has taken the initiative. And it was something that we had a lot of interest in taking and to see a lot of students not sharing the same passion as us for Recycling on the go, made us feel rather strange and the work that we were carrying out was not appreciated.”
Meanwhile, Waste Recyclers Fiji Director, Amitesh Deo says they did not anticipate such responses from school students in an academic environment.
“Because all these students were given badges, and all of them were Ambassadors, but they really went through a real deep phase of stigma and name-calling so that is a challenge that we have now known”
He adds that they will be taking these lessons into consideration when planning more such projects in the coming days to address some of these issues.