Kahani Dr. Obalesha aur Gutter Cleaners ki

Manual scavenging in India, a hazardous practice wherein individuals manually clean human waste from manholes, toilets, and sewages has claimed the lives of 339 people between 2018 and 2023, as reported by government data. 

Despite being outlawed, this dehumanising task persists due to social and economic factors. Additionally, only 508 out of India’s 766 districts have declared themselves manual-scavenging free, highlighting the ongoing challenges in eradicating this practice.

Shockingly, while official figures estimate about 42,594 manual scavengers belong to marginalised communities, the Safai Karmachari Andolan suggests a much higher number, exceeding 770,000 workers.

Thamate, a grassroots organisation founded in 2006 in Karnataka, stands at the forefront of combating manual scavenging and promoting community development, particularly among marginalised groups like the ‘Madiga’ community. 


About Our Hero

Founded by Dr. K.B. Obalesha, Thamate aims to disrupt the vicious cycle of caste-based occupation that perpetuates poverty, discrimination, and exclusion. Through community-based mobilisation efforts, they endeavour to empower these communities and create a more equitable society.


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