From manual scavenging to the President of Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, Usha Chaumar’s story is quite inspirational. Today, she stands tall with the country presenting her with the Padma Shri Award for her social service.
Hailing from Bharatpur district in Rajasthan, Usha Chaumar was born to Dalit family whose family profession was manual scavenging. She took up manual scavenging at the age of seven.
After she was married off at the age of ten, she moved to Alwar district. Here also she had to do the same thing. It was here that she has said that her life changed forever. She remembers that she had met Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, who is the founder of Sulabh International, who had changed her life in total.
On her work as a manual scavenger, Chaumar had said that she had many times felt an outcast in the society. On the life changing movement, she said Pathak visited the colony where she stayed and offered the opportunity of an alternative occupation for the manual scavengers. Heu established a center of Sulabh International at Alwar named Nai Disha. It became a centre for the production of papads, noodles, pickles and other food items. She says that Nai Disha not only gave her economic stability but also a dignity in life.
Chaumar has been in the social service for a long time and has been raising her voice against the inhumane practice of manual scavenging.