Helping grassroots livelihoods: Safai Karmacharis

One of the hardest livelihoods to imagine is the manual scavenging work of safai karmacharis.  AID has been working with Thamate in Karnataka for many years now on protective gear to safai karmacharis, procurement of their rights and rehabilitation, attempts to introduce better machinery, and on Bheemshalas for their children’s education.

Update on Thamate’s work (Feb 2022):

In the last 3 years, Thamate and Safaikarmachari Kavalu Samithi-Karnataka has been able to expand its network to 11 districts with the help of the support provided by AID. Over 60 Community-based monitoring groups have been formed across these 11 districts comprising of both Manual Scavengers and Safaikarmacharis.

Because of the process of expansion and strengthening of the SKKS network and formation of the community based monitoring groups, we were able to secure several favorable outcomes for the safaikarmachari community in the state which included the following:

  •  11,000 contract safaikarmacharis are now permanent employees of Urban Local Bodies.
  •  35,000 contract safaikarmacharis are now direct employees of Urban Local Bodies.
  •  Monthly salaries for Safaikarmacharis have increased from Rs.3000- 6000/ to Rs.13,600 to 20,000 per month.
  •  24,000 gram panchayath sweepers’ salaries have increased from Rs.3000/ to Rs.13,600/- per month.

Unfortunately, the incidents of manual scavenging deaths while reducing in number, continue to take the lives of workers. 11 workers died in 6 incidents of manual scavenging deaths during 2018-20. Thamate is assisting in development of a small-scale mechanized cleaning equipment called Jalodbust which is being field-tested by workers who are members of SKKS.

During the last three year period, 9 Bheemshale (evening coaching centers) were run in different residential areas which benefited 352 children. Along with these, through government housing schemes, houses and basic amenities like drinking water, electricity and sanitation were availed by 746 Safaikarmacharis and 56 Manual Scavengers.

Your support has been crucial in enabling the achievements of these outcomes in the last three years, and your continued support makes a huge difference at the grassroots.

You can help

Development of Small-scale Mechanized Cleaning Equipment

Jalodbust is a portable, Battery operated, sanitary sludge handling machine with an agitator.


* 500-800 liters per hour
* 2,500 litres handling per battery charge
* 50 mtrs horizontal distance/ 10 mtrs vertical lift
* 30 Kgs weight of machine
* 24 volt 40 AH Battery
* 200-500 watt motor
* Works on piston pump principle
* Agitator based on shock wave principle

You can help

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