Ratan Uttam Gaikwad joined sanitation work out of desperation after completing his graduation. His father and brother were working in the sanitation sector for many years, and he seemed to have no other option. So he started working in different hospitals in and around Aurangabad city of Maharashtra.
“My father and brother had been working in the sanitation sector for many years and I seemed to have no choice. So I started working in different hospitals in and around Aurangabad. All my hard work at school and college had come to naught,” recalls Ratan.
Sanitation workers are exposed to a host of life hazards including the dangers posed by constant exposure to pollution and toxic fumes from drains and sewage lines. Situation was no different for Ratan as well.
The Harpic World Toilet College (HWTC), however, came as a boon for Ratan. The training and counselling at the college helped him to study further. He now has a Master’s degree in Social Work and is married to Seema, who is a nurse.
“I wanted to use my degree and my HWTC training to bring about a change in the sanitation sector and to impact as many lives as I possibly could,” says Ratan.
He joined HWTC as a community mobiliser after his training. He is now helping other sanitation workers in improving their living and livelihood.
‘101 Stories of Inspiration,’ a coffee table book, is a collection of stories of transformation of sanitation workers. The book was released at the Mission Paani World Toilet Day event on November 19, 2021.
Mission Paani is a campaign on water conservation, sanitation and hygiene by News 18 and Harpic India.
Join the Mission Paani movement.
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