Angul: In a bid to introduce a paradigm shift in urban sanitation as well as inclusive society, a self-help group (SHG) of transgenders have been entrusted with maintaining an e-toilet project in this town.
The e-toilet was launched under the MESH (Micro Enterprise in Sanitation & Health) program by the Angul municipality in partnership with UNICEF and ERAM scientific.
The transgender members of the SHG, Saptarang, will also run a goods and drinks kiosk attached to the toilet complex at Sanjeevani market in Angul town.
Two of the transgenders enrolled for the project, Bhanupriya and Jangyaseni, said it will enable them to lead a life of dignity.
“This is the first time we will be doing a job. Earlier, we would dance at weddings, etc. or go begging in trains. There was no dignity,” Bhanupriya said.
But now things are set to change, quipped Jangyaseni. “We have been trained to run the toilet and also maintain it. We have also been trained to run the kiosk, interact with customers and display snacks attractively,” Jangyaseni said.
“We do hope people will accept us in this new role. It may be slow in the beginning, but we hope business picks up,” she added.
The e-toilet project was inaugurated by Angul District Magistrate, Siddharth Shankar Swain. Chief Field Officer, UNICEF, Odisha, Monica Nielsen, WASH Specialist, UNICEF, India, Surai Majumdar and , WASH Specialist, UNICEF, Odisha, Sipra Saxena were also present on the occasion.