Including the Excluded Photo Exhibition

Including the Excluded Photo Exhibition Image WaterAid/ Srishti Bharadwaj
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Building a shared understanding of the challenges and crisis of health, safety, dignity and rehabilitation faced by manual scavengers and sanitation workers in India

Including the Excluded: Unpacking challenges and framing solutions for manual scavengers and sanitation workers in India exhibits visual narratives captured by photojournalist and Padma Shri awardee, Sudharak Olwe showcasing the reality regarding their safety, health, dignity, and rehabilitation.

Why Manual Scavenging

We aim to build a shared understanding of the several challenges and crisis of health, safety, dignity and rehabilitation faced by manual scavengers and sanitation workers in India.

 
India has taken significant strides to improve access to sanitation, particularly through the Swachh Bharat Mission. However, critical stakeholders engaged in sanitation work still face numerous challenges around safety, health, dignity, and rehabilitation. Despite the enactment of The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (PEMSR 2013) in India, and efforts to eradicate these practices and to rehabilitate workers involved in it, the inhuman practices of engaging workers as manual scavengers continues. 


In this context, WaterAid India, supported by the European Commission – European Instrument of Democracy and Human Rights (EC-EIDHR), and in partnership with Association of Rural and Urban Needy (ARUN) and Centre for Equity Studies (CES), is implementing a three-year (2018-21) project. The project aims to study issues around implementation of PEMSR 2013 and demonstrate possible community based and systemic measures to strengthen the implementation of the act.

Shri Rajendra Pal Gautam, the Minister for Social Welfare, SC & ST, Gurudwara Elections, Water, and Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Government of NCT of Delhi said:
Not one year has passed by where death incidents of manual scavengers has not been reported but municipals bodies still report absence of manual scavenging. Delhi government is open to exploring and investing in technology options that can prevent this inhuman practice.
 

About the photographer

Documenting the life of manual scavengers and sanitation workers in India for about two decades, Photojournalist and Padma Shri awardee Sudharak Olwe travelled across Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to bring forward visual narratives of the complexity of this problem with a focus on women manual scavengers.

Sudharak Olwe while speaking about his experience documenting their life said:

Countries like Sweden and Netherlands have invested on this issue sufficiently and upheld the human dignity and safety issues to the height possible. However, I found no substantial change in the working methods of manual scavengers and sanitation workers in our country despite the overall technological advancements in the last 20 years while documenting their lives.

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