President meets UN-bound former women scavengers

June 25th, 2008 - 6:39 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil has met 30 women from Rajasthan who have been liberated from the age-old inhuman practice of manual scavenging and are all set to walk the ramp at the United Nations General Assembly hall witn some wellknown models. Assuring them that the manual scavenging practice would soon be abolished completely in India, the president told them that she would also discuss the matter with the government.

The 30 women were selected as part of a social reform initiative of the Sulabh sanitation movement.

Patil expressed satisfaction over the efforts of these women who not only put a stop to the practice of manual scavenging, but also started a social initiative to motivate their colleagues.

The women, who will be walking the ramp July 2 with wellknown models Mark Rovbinson, Tamara Moss, Carol Gracias, Jessy Randhawa, Rahul Dev, Aryan Vaid and Shahwar Ali, met the president Tuesday.

The UN event is to mark the International Year of Sanitation 2008 and will be attended by ministers and officials from 150 countries.

Besides themselves walking the ramp, these women have stitched the clothes the models would be displaying.

Bindeshwar Pathak, the head of Sulabh International, said these women’s presence at the UN would symbolise India ending the centuries-old practice.

He said the UN honour to the 30 former scavengers is the fulfilment of Mahatma Gandhi’s dream to bring scavengers into the national mainstream.

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