India's 'untouchable' toilet cleaners forgenew lives
Nekpur (India) (AFP) - For nearly fourdecades, Kela Devi worked for a pittance emptying her high-caste neighbours'toilets with her bare hands in the small Indian village where she lives.
But in the last two years she has turnedher life around, learning to read and write and opening her first bank account.
Devi is among 21 women in the village ofNekpur who managed to escape their desperate situation with the help of thecharity Sulabh International, which provided shelter and a basic education.
The organisation stepped in two years ago,when India's government banned the building of non-flushing toilets that mustbe emptied by hand in an attempt to end the practice known as manualscavenging.
A manual scavenger covers her nose as she carries a basket of human waste after cleaning a toilet in Nekpur village, Muradnagar in Uttar Pradesh, some 40 kms east of New Delhi, on August 10, 2012 (AFP Photo/Prakash Singh)
Sulabh International has built new toiletsfor the community and established a centre called Nai Disha, or New Direction,where the women learn vocational skills such as sewing and making detergentsand other disinfectants.
Devi, who is in her mid-60s, was one of the oldest and is the mother ofthree sons and four daughters.
"These women used to get food, clothesand a little money for their work," said Suman Chahar of SulabhInternational.
"Now, they make over 3,000 rupees($50) each month, and they have their dignity."
The whole caste system needs to be doneaway with
I saw a video on TV urging people in Indiato us toilets. I kid you not-it is called "Take your poo to the loo".Anyone can look it up. It is a cartoon video with a song. I had no idea at theetime that a lot of them just squat in public and go. I guess that's theculture, but I really hope that they can start getting more hygienic, I cannotimagine having to live like that. One more thing to be grateful for, among themany others.
Being poor and uneducated is no way to go throughlife. What really bothers me is the insensitivity towards these people by theirOWN upper caste people.
Indians are cool people, but they stinkreally bad!
Just The Tip
Shouldn't she have a dot on her forehead?
The Most Interesting Man In The World
I don't always take a dump, but when I do,I flush it!!!!
Stay thirsty my friends.