India: Sonia blesses United Nations-bound manual scavengers

Kay Benedict, Friday, May 30, 2008

The 28 women will walk the ramp at the UN with top models on July 1 

(…) Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of NGO Sulabh International, which played a major role in changing the fate of the scavengers, said, “Mrs Gandhi blessed them and wished them all the success. They were very happy to see Mrs Gandhi.” “Till 2003, they were carrying human excreta in Alwar, Rajasthan. They were liberated and since then have been given education and training in fashion technology, beauty treatment, stitching, making papads, noodles, etc,” Pathak said. (…)

(…) The event will take place in one of the general assembly halls where ministers and officials from more than 150 countries will be present. A book titled Princesses of Alwar and containing success stories of these women will also be released on the occasion. (…) The economic and social council of the UN, which is celebrating 2008 as International Year of Sanitation, invited Sulabh to bring the 28 scavengers and present a cultural programme at the UN. The two-hour programme includes a 15-minute lecture by a UN official and a 15-minute film on scavenging. (…)

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