"A Shining Example to The World"
This year’s Stockholm Water Prize has gone to the Indian founder of a nation-wide sanitation movement which has benefited millions of people in India and other countries.
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak’s work is being described as a shining example of how one can effectively fight appalling sanitation conditions faced by the poor.
His Sulabh movement is said to have made him famous not only in his own country India but in other parts of the world as well.
What Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak has done is prove that simple but effective sanitation facilities need not be beyond the reach of poor people.
The Sulabh movement has not only provided affordable toilets to more than one million people in India but also helped improve sanitation conditions for millions of people both at home in India and other countries.
In India itself Dr. Pathak has concentrated his work on the untouchables in spite of the fact that he himself belongs to the Brahmins, the privileged class in India’s discriminatory caste system.
The untouchables, or Dalits as they’re known in India, are doomed to a life of discrimination based on culture and belief in the world’s largest democracy.
Many of them work as manual scavengers of human waste from bucket latrines and it is this miserable life led by the Dalits which compelled Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak to dedicate his life to helping those regarded by members of his own caste as people not even worthy of touching.
Since he set up the Sulabh movement nearly 40 years ago, he has been working to change social attitudes both towards the Dalits as well as to traditional unsanitary latrine practices and has developed cost effective toilet systems that have improved the lives of millions people around the globe.
He has also championed the rights of untouchable scavengers and their families to economic opportunity, decent standards of living and above all social dignity.