Manual scavengers in India often risk their lives due to hazardous work conditions. The toxic fumes from the sewage lines and septic tanks put their lives at risk. Despite being at the forefront of maintaining cleanliness in both urban and rural areas the sanitation workers face social discrimination and earn a paltry sum, usually not enough to meet ends.
The situation was no different for Manoj Tanaji Dhoke, a manual scavenger from Aurangabad, Maharashtra. He started scavenging when he was 15 years old.
“I started scavenging when I was 15. Both my parents were scavengers, and they both suffered from asthma and other respiratory issues. Because of the kind of work we did, as well as all the illnesses we suffered, nobody wanted to come anywhere near us. Someone once insulted my mother for the work she did. That incident never left me,” says Manoj.
However, the training at Harpic World Toilet College helped Manoj get a job at MGM Hospital, Aurangabad.
“I suddenly felt a new enthusiasm for my profession,” says Manoj.
From having no idea about any kind of cleaning equipment or safe working conditions, Manoj now understands the field of sanitation better as well as its scope.
He is now earning well and has even purchased a life insurance policy for his family.
The Harpic World Toilet College was established in August 2018 with an aim to train sanitation workers to enable them for better livelihood opportunities. First of its kind educational institution for sanitation workers, HWTC, has been instrumental in transforming the lives of many sanitation workers who have found sustainable employment after their training. The college is an initiative of Reckitt, the British health and hygiene products giant, in association with Jagaran Pehel.
A book,101 Stories of Inspiration, was released at the Mission Paani World Toilet Day event on November 19, 2021. The book carries the stories of sanitation workers who were trained at the Harpic World Toilet College and are now living a dignified life.
Mission Paani, a joint initiative of News18 and Harpic India, aims to ensure that everyone has access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.
Log on to https://www.news18.com/mission-paani/ and join the movement.
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