More hope ...
Continuing an ancient tradition in India, most lower caste women work as scavengers after marriage. They simply follow in the footsteps of their female relatives.
Laxmi Nanda, a 27-year-old woman from the northwest Indian state of Rajasthan, worked as a scavenger for nine years. Every day she removed the waste, transporting it in a bowl carried on her head. "It was a very dirty job. We never liked it. We were always suffering from some kind of diseases and things like that-no respect in the society. And it was very degrading. We never wanted to do that," she said, describing her past life
With the help of Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of the Sulabh International Social Service Organization, one of India's largest NGOs, women like Laxmi no longer do this work. Sulabh retrains the women so they can find other work doing embroidery or making noodles and pickles.
Pathak says Sulabh has improved sanitation and decreased some diseases, installing toilets in homes and public places. "The toilets are being built both in urban areas, rural areas, and in public places, tourist places, religious places. When we started, millions of children used to die due to diarrhea, dehydration, cholera. Now the number has gone down to half a million."
More power to organizations like Sulabh. Before reading this, I didn't even know what scavenging was and there were people actually doing such jobs manually. Saddening.
Labels: Progress towards solutions