Once manual scavengers, two sisters turn a new chapter in life

Jaipur, Feb 20 (IANS) Two young women, who used to do manual scavenging in Rajasthan in their childhood around a decade ago, on Tuesday turned a new chapter in their lives when they got married to two educated men in Tonk town of the desert state.

Helping the sisters on the path to a dignified life in Tonk, around 70 km from here, was NGO Sulabh International.

The grooms of Sarita and Rajni are earning a decent livelihood — one is a cameraman, while the other is a technician.

The marriage of the two sisters was solemnised with much fanfare at the Bairwa dharmshala in Tonk.

“The event aims at social reform and empowerment of people who earlier carried the social stigma of being manual scavengers,” said Sulabh International founder Bindeshwar Pathak, who graced the occasion.

Sarita and Rajni earlier carried human excreta on their heads to eke out a living, but were rehabilitated by Sulabh International.

Rajni has since graduated, while her younger sister Sarita is a matriculate and runs a beauty parlour.

Both sisters had joined an apprenticeship course at a Sulabh vocational centre and pursued vocational training as well as regular studies.

Sulabh International claims to have converted 1.3 million dry toilets in India and helped rehabilitate one million manual scavengers in five decades.

“These erstwhile scavengers are now learning Sanskrit and attending seminars to interact with people in society. They feel dignified as part of the mainstream now,” Pathak said.

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