Sanitation workers from across India will assemble in Punnayur, Thrissur, Kerala between 1st and 5th of October 2021. They will release the Sanitation Workers’ Charter detailing a testimony of sanitation workers about their conditions and rights, and demands for better working conditions, health and safety facilities, and rehabilitation.
This convention is a very important step in the process of enfranchisement and mobility of sanitation workers. To make this dream possible, we require a financial assistance of Rupees 410,000 towards the travel, food and related costs of 40 sanitation workers.
All over India, more than five million sanitation workers are engaged in different categories of community/public toilet cleaning, sweeping, drain cleaning, railway/transport cleaning, sewer, septic tank cleaning, etc. These sanitation workers not only expose themselves to gender and caste-based discrimination but also to physical, mental, and social occupational hazards on an everyday basis.
There is a gap between the integration of the sanitation campaigns and schemes by emphasizing only the sanitation infrastructure and completely disregarding the rights of these workers. The Covid pandemic has not only multiplied this but also accelerated the pre-existing issues related to their health, dignity and safety. Sanitation workers are bearing the burden of this catastrophe as thousands have lost their lives and have become displaced, struggling for a single meal a day. Individuals, institutions and both the central and state governments need to come together to help in rebuilding the lives of these sanitation workers in India and come up with an Emergency Response System.
The South Asian Sanitation Worker and Labour Network (SASLN), formed in March 2021 with the objective of helping the sanitation workers in India, has constituted the Sanitation Workers’ Charter to support and hold the hands of these sanitation workers.
A delegation of over 50 advocates, policy makers, grassroots practitioners and civil society organisations from 23 states in India and three South Asian countries are seeking your support to enable the launch of Sanitation Workers’ Charter detailing a testimony of sanitation workers about their conditions and rights, and demands for better working conditions, health and safety facilities, and rehabilitation.
As one sanitation worker dies every five days to septic tanks and health-related crises, several promises to eradicate manual scavenging have failed India's sanitation workers. Hence, it is a high time that the sanitation workers unite to fight for their constitutional rights, dignity, health, safety and rehabilitation.
Please support these sanitation workers to realise their dream of working towards their betterment.