CHENNAI: As part of their social media campaign celebrating the International Women’s Day, the Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme (TNUSSP) and the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) featured six women and a man, who have been fighting the gender bias and stereotypes to ensure an equal world, in some videos.

Aravalli, Kavya, Vani, Vinitha, Sangeetha and Prema were the women featured in the videos, and Ambalavannan talks about his journey of working with sanitation workers, especially women and marginalised groups and empowering them through alternate livelihoods.
Aravalli, desludging operator (DSO) from Trichy, hoped that her story of breaking all barriers would serve as an inspiration to all her naysayers. Aravalli has been in the business of cleaning septic tanks and people were always surprised when I would help the workers and go to the field wherever there are blockages. “I want people to get inspired. Before we started this business, we didn’t even have food to eat. Now, they are so inspired seeing my work,” she said.

Kavya Menon, an eco-feminist and a sustainability and sexual rights consultant, said she was on a mission to make everyone ‘period aware’ while breaking the myths, euphemisms and silence around it.

Vinitha, an environmental engineer at Keystone Foundation & Programme Coordinator at TNUSSP, said she had been stepping into the field, working with communities, taking the risks in times of pandemic and leading by setting an example.
Ambalavannan, project director of People’s Development Initiative, said he wanted to empower women and marginalised communities through livelihood improvements.