“One day Subhash Desawer, State Convener, Punjab, SKA, arranged a community meeting in our locality. In his speech, he motivated us to live a dignified life. He arranged meetings in our colony several times. I decided to stop manual scavenging.
“I was a manual scavenger until just two years ago.
Rajbala used to be a manual scavenger. She participated in the SKA Haryana team’s community meeting at Ambala, and was impressed by SKA’s vision and mission. A few days later, she quit manual scavenging. She began to work as a sweeper in the area.
Having married in 2003, Hemlata began manual scavenging with her mother-in-law. Later, she met SKA Haryana team during a community meeting. The team convinced her to do some other work that is more dignified. She decided to quit manual scavenging and began working as a domestic worker.
Rajani Nayak is currently running a Pan shop. SKA Odisha team identified her husband, Dukha Ram. He was a septic tank cleaner. The team made him understand that manual scavenging is inhuman and every person has the right to live with dignity.
During the Government Survey of Statutory Town, SKA team registered Kuna Nayak as a manual scavenger. With the money he received from the government, he set up a fast food centre.
Kela Devi was involved in manual scavenging for 30 to 40 years. She was married off in the year 1965 to Mr. Sukkad who belonged to Maaruthpur village. There she had to work as a manual scavenger for their livelihood as her husband was unemployed. Later the couple shifted to Landhaura, a town in Uttrakhand. Even in this town she was compelled to engage in manual scavenging.
“I’m very grateful to Amar Singh and Poonam from Safai Karamchari Andolan. One day they arranged a community meeting in our colony. In the meeting they made us realise that manual scavenging is not an occupation, but it is a violence on our community, particularly on the women. I understood and decided that I’ll do something else.
After interaction with Safai Karamchari Andolan activists, Santosh Devi quit working as a manual scavenger and started her own business. She set up a Fancy store in the name of her mother-in-law Chhoti Devi.