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Inspiring story of Sunil Siraswal: Manual scavenger who aims to be an entrepreneur

“I will be an entrepreneur— the king of sanitation!”, 36-year-old Sunil Siraswal says with a sense of wistful happiness in his voice.

News18.com | Updated: January 14, 2022, 12:17 PM IST

“I will be an entrepreneur— the king of sanitation!”, 36-year-old Sunil Siraswal says with a sense of wistful happiness in his voice. Sunil has cleaned gutters and manholes for 16 years, putting his life in danger, every day. As he strolled through the alleys in his village he fought social stigma and discrimination every day. He often risked his life for survival.

Sunil was engaged in the inhuman profession for over a decade and did not know his way out of it. Even though he hoped to be free of the curse at some time, rural Indian society made a point of reminding him of his “position” in the social order.

“I was working a manhole when a bunch of women, seeing me filled in muck, spat at me. Humiliation was an everyday challenge, but this particular incident left me heartbroken. For 16 years, I cleaned gutters and manholes, wearing nothing but a pair of pants,” Sunil said.

Sunil continues to work as a sewage cleaner, now with machines, after graduating from Harpic World Toilet College. “Mr Amitabh Bachchan gave me one,” he proudly claims.

Sunil is also an active member of a self-help group, where he serves as president. “My work helps keep Aurangabad cleaner and its people healthier,” says Sunil, who has also found ambition.

 

Mission Paani, an effort by News18 and Harpic India, is aimed at conserving water and preserving it for future generations. The goal is to change attitudes and behaviours in order to ensure access to clean water, safe sanitation and hygiene for all.

 On the occasion of World Toilet Day, a book was launched about the lives that were changed for better as a consequence of Harpic India’s efforts. ‘101 Stories of Inspiration,’ a coffee table book, recounts the lives of sanitation workers who were trained at the Harpic World Toilet College in Aurangabad, Maharashtra, and are now living a dignified life.

Join the Mission Paani movement.

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