Sulabh founder to address Cambridge University students

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LONDON - An Indian social activist campaigning for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers has been invited to interact with the students of Cambridge University.

Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International, will share his views on the issue of human rights and his experience while campaigning against the practice of manual scavenging in various parts of India. The lecture will be held Friday.

“The students would be thrilled to hear about his role in the promotion of human rights, environmental sanitation and alternative energy resources,” the president of the Cambridge Union Society, Lauren Davidson, said.

With his innovation of low-cost safety toilets and its implication in generating bio-gas fuel, Pathak has helped in rescue and rehabilitation of millions of manual scavengers, across India, who were ostrasiced from the mainstream society as “untouchables”.

“Social reform is always a topic of interest at universities, and many students are, and will go on to be, highly involved in similar pursuits, and would value the opportunity to engage with an individual who has been so influential in your work on social progression,” she said in the letter to the Sulabh founder.

The design of bio-gas plant developed by Sulabh has been approved by the Indian government. The technology has also been used to construct over 5,500 public toilet complexes for the poor living in cities across south and central Asia.

Sulabh also runs a vocational training centre in Rajasthan’s Alwar district to help the rescued manual scavengers in finding alternative avenues. Sewing, embroidery, food-processing and beauty care are part of the training programmes. Dozens of such women trainees participated in a fashion show held recently at the UN headquarters in New York to mark the International Year of Sanitation.

Founded in 1815, the Cambridge Union Society has been working on to facilitate free speech and debate and provides its members with the opportunity to engage with the foremost individuals in culture, media and politic.

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