Today, the practice of manual scavenging, manual cleaning of underground drainages (manhole) and unequipped sweeping is rampant in all parts of India, which reinforces ‘lower’ status of scavenging community in the caste and class hierarchy of Indian society.
Problems faced by scavenging community in urban and rural areas:
- Lowest in caste system
- Lowest among Dalits too.
- Victims of violence, untouchability and discrimination in everyday life.
- No voice in development sector, little among rights based groups.
- No political, economic or social assertion by the community.
- Lack of leadership in the community-always led by others.
- Engaged in most inhuman practice of manual scavenging.
Janvikas started working with scavenging community in 2003 through fellowship to a community based leader. Later, promoted Manav Garima, a people’s organization of scavenging (Valmiki) community in Ahmedabad.
But, only Manav Garima cannot create impact: on NGOs, government and policy/law makers. Our experience shows community based leadership is very effective in addressing such issues. CBOs led by community leaders were working effectively, and needed support too. Broad basing, promoting & nurturing leadership and initiatives of the community for assertion of rights are the sustainable model.
Since 2011 Janvikas is supporting 12 CBOs of scavenging community in 5 states: Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamilnadu and reaching out to 144 villages and 17 Municipal Corporation & municipalities (106 slum areas). Janvikas is strengthening CBOs through accompaniment, strategic support and in legal interventions to achieve following objectives:
- Eradication of manual scavenging
- Creating alternate livelihoods / employment / skills
- Improving educational status among the children of the scavenging community
- Improving health status in the scavenging community
- Improving living conditions and availing basic facilities
- No discrimination, untouchability and atrocities by Dalit sub-castes and other castes
- Creating own credit structure for overall economic development
- Use of technology in sweeping and drainage cleaning work and this work be done by all communities.
- Accessing government’s social security schemes, welfare schemes and programs