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Sanitation worker Suraj Dandge who fought stereotypes for a dignified life

By: Anshika Bajpai

Studio18

Last Updated: December 24, 2021, 13:42 IST

Sanitation worker Suraj Dandge who fought stereotypes for a dignified life

Safe water, sanitation and cleanliness are vital to the well-being of everyone in the society.

Safe water, sanitation and cleanliness are vital to the well-being of everyone in the society. It is not just important for good health but it plays a crucial role in people’s life to provide them with livelihood and help them become a dignified person. It also helps in improving the life of economically weaker sections.

Manual scavenging is directly related to the sanitation and hygiene but it is categorised for the so-called lower castes in Indian caste system. People who belong to lower castes are

expected to do the scavenging for the years—resulting, they are the poorest and most vulnerable communities in the society.

However, Suraj Dandge has broken the stereotype and stepped out of the scavenging work.

Dandge, 29, started scavenging in line with his parents’ year old job soon after he completed his class 12.

According to him, his parents were working as scavengers for years and he also continued their legacy.

“I started scavenging immediately after I completed my 12th. It was the same work my parents had done. Alone and scared, without a support system to fall back upon, I worked in terrible conditions and was constantly worried about my future,” recalls Suresh.

Dandge said that he believed that scavenging will be his lifelong job but things changed when he was trained at Harpic World Toilet College, in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad.

After getting in touch with Toilet College, he was aware of the importance of proper hygiene and sanitation. Harpic World Toilet College helped him getting a job at Varroc, an automotive manufacturing company in Aurangabad.

“It was the happiest moment of my life. I now work at a reputed place and earn a decent salary. I feel like I’ve finally got my dignity back, along with better health,” says Suraj.

Harpic World Toilet College trains sanitation workers to lead dignified lives through alternative opportunities of livelihood.

India’s first World Toilet College was set up by British health and hygiene product major Reckitt in association with the World Toilet Organisation (Singapore) and Jagran Pehel in August 2018 in Aurangabad.

As many as 3,200 sanitation workers were trained in the first year of the toilet college and secured sustainable employment.

Mission Pani, an initiative of News 18- Harpic India, is a campaign for water conservation, safe sanitation and hygiene. The campaign aims to change attitudes and behaviour towards water consumption and safe sanitation.

A book ‘101 Stories of Inspiration’ chronicles such stories of success and transformation of lives of the sanitation workers. The book was unveiled at the Mission Paani World Toilet Day event on November 19. On the occasion of World Toilet Day, the Mission Paani initiative had pledged to uphold India’s first-ever Preamble for safe water and sanitation security for all

citizens.

Join the Mission Paani movement.

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first published:December 24, 2021, 13:40 IST
last updated:December 24, 2021, 13:42 IST