Tejaswini Gaikwad

Sanitation Changemaker

Driving Change: Tejaswini’s Impactful Role as Desludging Supervisor

Tejaswini Gaikwad grew up in a small village called Menavli in Maharashtra. While growing up, she was an ambitious girl who dreamt of building her career and becoming successful. She dedicated herself towards her education and was eventually able to finish her higher secondary schooling majoring in science. Her education gave her confidence and enabled her to access the right opportunities to build a sustainable career for herself.

A 24-year-old Tejaswini applied for a vacancy at Sumeet Facilities Pvt Ltd – a firm that was working closely with the Wai Municipal Council for scheduled desludging. (Desludging is the process of removing both the scum and the sludge layers from your primary septic tank, usually with a vacuum truck that comes along to essentially pump them out through the top access lid). Wai was 4 kms away from her village and while Tejaswini was not aware of the process of desludging, she was keen to learn. In a few days, she got the job and was excited for the opportunity.

Her role required her to understand the process of desludging well and most importantly to sensitize citizens towards its importance. She coordinated with citizens who were owners of households where she provided desludging services. She worked closely with the officials from Wai Municipal Council and with the field staff who would manage the machinery for desludging, to ensure services reached citizens timely. It filled her with pride when women-only households felt comfortable that she was supervising the desludging process for their homes.

Her family is proud of her for being the ambitious and driven woman that she grew up to be and believe that she enables crucial services for the society. Today, Tejaswini not only overlooks desludging for most households in Wai but has also played an important in ensuring smooth delivery of desludging services by managing bills, reporting and documenting her work with the municipality.