shame

'I hated the stench and filth': India's scavengers escape dirty work

A project in Delhi is retraining people who clean human excrement with their bare hands to find work as housekeepers. The training is the result of Shahdara district magistrate Kumar Mahesh’s determination to end manual scavenging. The project team found it hard to identify manual scavengers in Shahdara as many (most of whom are Dalits) are too ashamed to admit their occupation. But they finally managed to persuade 28 people to enrol for the part-time course where they learn housekeeping skills enabling them to leave the dehumanising work of scavenging behind.

Is shame a bad thing

The question on whether it is ethical or right to use ‘shame’ as a resource
for facilitating change has been an emerging critique of Community-Led Total
Sanitation (CLTS). This question could be misleading, as at no point does CLTS require facilitators to say ‘shame on you’ to target audiences for defecating in the open or for eating each others’ shit.

The 'shame question' in CLTS

There has been an interesting debate going on about the elements of shame, fear and disgust used during CLTS triggering session. The debate has been between those who believe that the element of shame as applied during a CLTS trigger is unethical as it amounts to degrading and embarrassing the community, and those who believe that the element of shame is actually positive, and that it indeed awakens the community to the realities of open defecation.

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