Bezwada Wilson

National Convenor, Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA)

Bezwada Wilson is an Indian activist and one of the founders and National Convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan (SKA), an Indian human rights organization that has been campaigning for the total eradication of manual scavenging and the rehabilitation of all scavengers for dignified occupations.

From 15 lakh people who were involved in manual scavenging in 1996, Bezwada’s efforts have reduced it to less than 2 lakh people across the country in 2013. Bezwada’s goal is to detach manual scavenging and sanitary work from Dalits, in the larger context of reforming the caste system, by pushing government agencies to replace manual scavenging with mechanization. His team continues its efforts towards a zero-manual scavenger and dry toilet India.

In 2016, Bezwada was honoured with the Ramon Magsaysay Award for “his moral energy and prodigious skill in leading a grassroots movement to eradicate the degrading servitude of manual scavenging in India, reclaiming for the Dalits the human dignity that is their natural birthright.”