Mantu Naik

Sanitation Changemaker

From Hardships to Leadership

Raised in a family where both parents worked as municipal street sweepers, Mantu knew since his childhood that he would do sanitation work. Knowing the hardships of a low-income life and with no guidance about the importance of education in planning his future, Mantu studied till 10th grade and then sought financial stability by applying for a range of jobs. Besides providing for his younger brother and sister's education, he faced the challenges of supporting his own family, including his 2-year-old daughter.

A turning point came when Mantu learned about a meeting organized by Dhenkanal Municipality, offering a chance to join a male Self-Help Group under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY-NULM) and Swacch Bharat Mission convergence. Recognizing the opportunities ahead, he joined the group and became the driving force behind OMM SAI SHG. He conducted regular meetings, went door-to-door, and inspired members to save, eventually enabling them to access bank loans.

Mantu's leadership enabled him to convince the group to submit an application to Dhenkanal Municipality for the operation and maintenance of community toilets. Overcoming social stigmas tied to sanitation work, the group submitted their application and was subsequently awarded the contract.

Despite facing numerous challenges, including financial constraints and irregular payments, Mantu's resolve kept the group united. He learned the intricacies of Dhenkanal Municipality's operations, ensuring the enterprise's continuity through internal savings. They capitalized on their internal savings and planned to start an alternative livelihood enterprise. Their success story continues, as they aim to secure more contracts and expand their community toilet initiative.

Dhenkanal Municipality recognizes Mantu's group for their outstanding performance and plans to award them more contracts, built on the foundation of trust established through sheer hard work and dedication. Through his journey, Mantu not only became an entrepreneur but also gained valuable skills, increased safety awareness, and accessed various schemes to improve his family's life. His transformation is a testament to the transformative power of determination and community-driven initiatives in the sanitation sector.