Nitin Sonkar provides sanitation services as part of the workforce employed in the Durg Municipal Corporation, Chhattisgarh.
Nitin has three children, two girls and a boy. As the sole breadwinner of the family, he is committed to providing them with a good education and a secure future. However, weighed down by financial burdens, he was finding it difficult to continue his children's education. In addition to his financial worries, he was concerned about the safety of his job too, since it meant handling sewage and sludge regularly, without adequate equipment. This heightened his anxiety.
The Government launched the Safai Mitra Challenge to encourage cities to mechanize their sewer and septic tank cleaning operations, aiming to prevent deaths and fatalities among sanitation workers due to hazardous conditions. Nitin was happy to learn about the provision of PPE kits and their associated benefits. Nitin received his PPE kit, complete with a mask, gloves, and a cap, along with other essential tools to ensure his safety during work. This new equipment also came with a new identity as a sanitation worker, as he donned his fresh uniform. Furthermore, to enhance their capacity, Nitin and his colleagues were provided with intensive training, encompassing both theoretical and practical sessions, on how to effectively use the PPE kits and dispose of them. Provision of Personal Protective Equipment and other safety measures is an essential right for all Sanitation Workers, to ensure that their work is dignified and protected from occupational hazards.
Expressing his gratitude, Nitin humbly remarked, "After the implementation of Safai Mitra Suraksha, I have experienced a great change in my work and personal life. The training program has allowed me to carry out my job more efficiently, and I have also been linked to a health scheme by the state government. I finally feel like I can work and function with dignity in society. I may not be very good with my words, but this has truly been a boon for me."
Now equipped with modern tools and equipment, Nitin and his colleagues can fulfill their responsibilities efficiently and without risking their lives. The ability to excel in their jobs and visit numerous households was previously unimaginable due to the manual nature of their work and the lack of adequate equipment. Nitin's newfound confidence assures him that he can now send his children back to school in the upcoming season, instilling hope and a brighter future for his family.