Sheetal Kinnar

Sanitation Changemaker

Uplifting the Self through Community

Sheetal Kinnar’s journey towards sanitation work is marked by exceptional courage. Born as Chandan in rural Odisha, Sheetal grew up in a joint family, navigating a complex existence as a man at home and a woman in her community. Her life was marred by abuse, harassment, and isolation. For the sake of her financial independence, Sheetal was forced to work with her tormenting brothers who did not accept her for who she is.

In 2005, Sheetal found her true self within the transgender community. Embraced by the transgender community, she renamed herself Sheetal Kinnar and became deeply involved in community work, driven by a determination to empower her fellow transgender individuals. Her remarkable communication and leadership skills eventually led her to contest the general elections in 2019.

Sheetal's journey led to the formation of 'Bahucharamata,' a self-help group for transgender individuals. Starting with modest ventures like producing home-based cleaning products, the group's dedication to community welfare caught the attention of the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC).

The CMC entrusted them with operating and maintaining a Faecal Sludge Treatment Plant in Cuttack. Through rigorous training, Sheetal and her team learned the intricacies of sanitation management. This partnership not only offered them stable income but also dignified work. Each member now earns approximately Rs. 10,000 per month, marking a significant improvement in their lives.

Sheetal Kinnar's journey, from personal struggle to empowering her community and managing a treatment plant, stands as a powerful symbol of transformation and hope for the transgender community and beyond.