On 22 August, Robert Voories, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, officially launched the publication "City Cleaners - Stories of Those Left Behind". The launch took place in a colony of faecal sludge tank sweepers in Sonadanga, as part of the Foundation's leadership team's visit to the SNV urban faecal sludge management (FSM) project.
City Cleaners - Stories of Those Left Behind is a collection of stories from sceptic tank cleaners. The book provides an intriguing glimpse into their daily reality, their woes, dreams and lives as septic tank emptiers in the cities in which the SNV project is active, Khulna, Kushtia and Jhenaidah
Nearly all (90%) of septic tanks in Bangladesh are still emptied manually. The manual process creates severe health issues for the sceptic tank cleaners. They continue to be one of the most ostracised people in Bangladeshi society. This publication gives them a voice and is a means for them to be heard, and for their dilemmas to be taken seriously.
The full publication with these stories, is available for download.