As COVID-19 spreads through our communities, we know that the dangers this virus poses will not be felt equally

While some of us are able to stay at home without our livelihoods being affected, waste pickers, grassroots recyclers, and sanitation workers across the globe are being asked to continue with the essential work of collecting recyclables and other waste from households and businesses – oftentimes without adequate protective gear, basic income, or a social safety net if they or their families get sick. Those living in cities with more pollution and poverty are also more likely to suffer worse health impacts. In those communities, GAIA members are not only organizing their neighbors to fight the industries whose pollution is linked with poor respiratory health but  also creating mutual support networks so that people impacted by income loss, predatory landlords, and environmental injustice can have what they need to stay in their homes. 

GAIA is organizing an Emergency Solidarity Fund to help our members—who are so vital to the health of their communities— stay safe and support their neighbors through this difficult time. We will use your gift to provide mini-grants to those groups worst hit by the crisis to support their organizing and mutual support programs, prioritizing the most urgent needs such as the provision of food and personal protective equipment for heavily-impacted recycling workers.

Through the generosity of friends and allies like you, we have already been able to support 32 groups in 20 countries, benefitting thousands of people with the first round of emergency fund distributions. GAIA’s Emergency Solidarity Fund is already covering the costs of much-needed food aid, medical care, masks, and sanitizers for these leaders, as well as small amounts of money for education and organizing campaigns that aim to reduce pollution in heavily impacted communities. 

Here are just a few recipient organizations:

  • Pan African Vision for the Environment in Nigeria will offset lost salaries and provide medical support for nine waste workers and their families, as well as provide food supplies for them and twenty grassroots community members. 
  • In Ecuador, Costa Rica, and Chile, we will be covering the costs of food aid and personal protective equipment for 600 informal sector recyclers in 7 cities.
  • In Vietnam, organizers will distribute personal protective equipment to thousands of informal sector recyclers.

However, more needs to be done. Applications keep coming in, so we continue to raise emergency solidarity funds. If you are able to give, we ask you to join us by giving to the fund and encourage others to give.  Your donation will make a difference.