Sulabh to develop vocational skills of Vidarbha farm widows

Sulabh International, the sanitation NGO that provided farm widow Kalawati Rs 30-lakh aid a few years ago, is planning to train other such widows in Vidarbha in vocational skills.

Sulabh president Bindeshwar Pathak told the media here, "We will begin the programme next month.

"A major member of families of widows not in a position to train due to age or other problems will be included in the programme."

Pathak, who was recently at Hindi University, Wardha, for a seminar, said, "I have suggested introduction of `sociology of sanitation' at school and university levels for comprehensive appreciation of the highly important multi-dimensional problem and to solve it."

He said Sulabh had built over 13 lakh toilets in houses and about 8,000 public toilets.

"The governments have constructed over 5.4 crore toilets based on Sulabh designs. But sanitation still remains out of bounds for a majority of Indians who defecate in the open," Pathak said, adding, "The centuries-old belief that toilets should be built away from home is difficult to be eradicated. We have to make concerted efforts to change the mindset as also tackle issues such as poverty and shortage of funds for sanitation."

He said while the number of human scavengers had dropped from several lakhs to 55,000, there was a need to completely get rid of the inhuman practice.

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