New Delhi: Usha Chaumar, a dalit social worker and sanitation activist from Alwar in Rajasthan has won Padma Awards. She was once a manual scavenger .
Doing this work didn’t only make her feel filthy about herself; it also ended up making her an outcast – an untouchable – in the society. The work also killed her hunger as she didn’t feel like eating anything after returning from work.
Though this horrible practice was banned in 1993 by ‘The Employment of Manual Scavenging and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, it is still not history.
The sad truth is there are many more women who go through such horrific experience all throug their lives. Usha just needed an opportunity to get rid of the hell she was living in and her wish was fulfilled when an NGO – Nai Disha – came to her rescue.
Nai Disha brought a much-needed transformation Usha and other women like her face in the society. The NGO focuses in providing them with a much better and respectable life by teaching them various skills, ranging from henna designing, food processing to stitching.
The NGO aided Usha enormously and turned her into an influential public speaker who fought against the awful task of manual scavenging while being a role model inspiring numerous other women! She even got the opportunity to travel the world.
Presently, she is holding the prestigious post of president at Sulabh International Social Service Organisation.
Usha wholeheartedly thanks Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the award-winning social activist and founder of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement and the NGO, for changing her life completely. She even stated that there was a time when she wanted to live no more, but she couldn’t imagine living the amazing life she presently has.