D. Siva has been engaged in providing crucial sanitation services in Odisha as a sewer worker for over 15 years. Driven by a sense of responsibility towards his family’s needs from a young age, he joined the sanitation workforce, following the same line of work as his father.
In the initial stages of his life as a sanitation worker, he underwent immense exploitation with little to protect him. On several occasions, he recalls having to immerse himself in faecal sludge, relying on nothing more than a towel wrapped around his body. It is only with continued sectoral progress towards ensuring safety and dignity of sanitation workers, that D. Siva’s exposure to faecal matter reduced. He now has complete access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and mechanized tools to tackle blockages in sewers, which contributes to improved Occupational Health and Safety for him.
He received extensive training which educated him about essential aspects of the job: the associated hazards and safety protocols. The training assured him and instilled confidence in him to safely carry out his work. He and other trainees received identification cards and certificates, officially recognizing them as service delivery professionals.
Observing the improvements in safety measures and witnessing her husband's confidence, his wife became convinced that this was a safe occupation to pursue. He and his fellow coworkers now find adequate safety and stability in their sanitation work, due to the fact that proper rules and protocols are now in place. They express hope that more individuals will be encouraged to join the profession, knowing that their safety is prioritized.
Furthermore, the community in his neighborhood greatly appreciates the tireless efforts of D. Siva and his team in maintaining sanitation standards. He aspires for his children to receive a quality education and secure a promising future.
Watch to learn more about sanitation workers’ safety, dignity and rights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B30mMDyfQuU