I am Dhivya from Tamil Nadu working as a De-sludging operator. Growing up, I struggled a lot for basic amenities and always longed for something permanent to meet my family’s needs.

I got involved in the sanitation business of buying and selling vehicles, including sceptic tank vehicles, when I took over my aunt’s business. The demand for these vehicles was high for faecal sludge management in urban areas, and I saw an opportunity to provide a better life for my family and can make a positive impact in my community through my work.

However, as a woman in a male-dominated sanitation industry, I faced numerous challenges, including criticism and discrimination while I go for septic tank work. Men often stared at me condescendingly and I feel so angry. To calm down myself I always think about my children and how my job was supporting their education. There were times when I was even denied access to certain homes for my work, but I remained dedicated to my family and my business. I didn’t give up and instead enrolled in various training programs to acquire the necessary business skills to succeed.

My dream was to educate my children and provide them with a better future, so they wouldn’t have to face problems to full fill their basic needs that I did in the past. Today, I take care for my husband, brother-in-law, parents, brother, and sister-in-law.

The Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS) leads TNUSSP, working with community toilets in the city to improve sanitation. IIHS is part of the National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (NFSSM) Alliance, which is a collaborative body driving the discourse FSSM in India.

To learn more about IIHS visit this page

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