The Timeline

In its 50 years of public service, under the leadership of Bindeshwar Pathak, Sulabh emerged -by far- the world’s largest sanitation movement. Discover the extraordinary journey of grit, toil and perseverance.

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    1968

    An innovation designed to alleviate human suffering

      • Bindeshwar Pathak joined the Bihar Gandhi Centenary Celebration Committee. He experienced first-hand the discrimination and stigma faced by the community of people known as untouchables. To redeem them of their inhuman occupation of cleaning dry latrines, toilet technology was required. Dr Pathak goes on to invent low cost sanitation technology.
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      1970

      Birth of Sulabh Sanitation Movement

        • The low cost toilet then had to popularised and made easily available and hence Sulabh International was born as a non-governmental organisation with the sole objective of converting dry household latrines into two pit pour flush toilets he designed.
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        1972

        Promoting the catalyst role for NGOs

          • Dr. Pathak brought the scavengers’ liberation programme from the micro-level to the macro-level by highlighting the significant - and the catalyst role - the NGOs could play for social development and nation building
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          1973

          Demo toilets revealed

            • The journey of Sulabh toilet started from Arrah municipality, Bihar in 1973, where two toilet models were set up for public demonstration. The local authorities then supported and endorsed the idea.
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            1974

            Sulabh inaugurates Public Toilets

              • The first public toilet was inaugurated in Patna, Bihar. It had 48 seats, 20 bathrooms, urinals and wash basins. It was operated round the clock. The idea was an instant success. Over 500 people used the facility on day one. Over 9000 such toilets were built since then across India and abroad.
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              1978

              Spotlight falls on Sulabh in a historic seminar on sanitation

                • Government of India conveyed a national seminar in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO in Patna on conversion of bucket latrines into sanitary water seal latrine. It was in this seminar Sulabh technology was hailed. It was further decided that the issues of sanitation, manual cleaning of toilets and personal hygiene must be given priority in the national development plans.
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                1980

                Sulabh gets international limelight

                  • The New York Times writes a special article hailing Sulabh’s work and its crusade to alleviate the sufferings of manual scavengers.
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                  1984

                  Sulabh earns its first national recognition

                    • Sulabh is awarded with the K.P. Goenka Memorial Award for outstanding work for the benefit of environment and ecology – it is the first public award to bring the organisation into prominence.
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                    1984

                    Innovation of Bio gas linked public toilets

                      • Sulabh Biogas technology was an innovative venture to convert faecal waste into a resource on-site by turning it into bio-energy. The first Sulabh public toilet-linked biogas plant was set up at Adalatganj, Patna. It produced electricity from biogas which was supplied to the 3 kms long Bailey Road, Patna. Now 190 such biogas plants are in operation all over the country.
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                      1985

                      Skill development initiative for manual scavengers

                        • Sulabh started rehabilitation programme for children of manual scavengers in by training them to develop skills like shorthand, typing, motor driving, mechanics etc. It was done with the support of the Government. The programme was a huge success and was extended across the country. The programme was later expanded to include regular education and technical training.
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                        1985

                        The Washington Times calls Sulabh movement a mini revolution

                          • Sulabh’s work gets featured in The Washington Post -calls Sulabh the most successful voluntary scavenger emancipation enterprise.
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                          1988

                          Sulabh leads the way to break social barriers for emancipation

                            • Dr Pathak challenged the formulaic tradition that barred manual scavengers from entering temples. He led 200 such people (untouchables) into the Nathdwara Temple in Udaipur, Rajasthan, for prayers in a peaceful manner. This unprecedented step was widely hailed. Dr Pathak and the group was given audience by the then President Venkataraman, Vice-President, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma and Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi.
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                            1989

                            Temples for all

                              • Soon after, Dr. Pathak launched a campaign to help the Scheduled Castes offer prayers in temples and perform puja at their homes by Vedic Brahmins.
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                              1990

                              Mainstreaming of Manual Scavengers

                                • For the mainstreaming of manual scavengers and to do away with the practice of untouchability, Sulabh urged people of reputation to help - and even - adopt a family that worked as manual scavengers. Consequently, almost 5,000 scavenger families were adopted by high-status people, including judges, advocates, journalists, ministers.
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                                1991

                                Recognised with India’s third highest civilian award

                                  • In 1991, Dr. Pathak was awarded Padama Bhushan by the President of India, Mr. R. Venkataraman, for his “distinguished social service.”
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                                  1992

                                  Launches awareness campaign on liberation of manual scavengers

                                    • In February 1992, Sulabh organised a ‘National Seminar on Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers’ in New Delhi in which Vice-Chancellors, professors, planners, and administrators passed a resolution to make it a people’s movement. The seminar was inaugurated by the former President of India, late Giani Zail Singh.
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                                    1992

                                    Sulabh champions education for all

                                      • Sulabh Public School - an English medium school was established in Delhi. Primarily for the children of the scavengers, 60% of the children are from the weaker sections and the rest are from general families ensuring no discrimination. The Sulabh Vocational Training Centre was set up to provide vocational training to the children of weaker sections thereby enabling them to earn their own livelihood.
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                                      1992

                                      Blessed by the Pope

                                        • His Holiness Pope John Paul-II gave audience to Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak before awarding him with International Saint Francis Prize.
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                                        1993

                                        A personal message from UN Secretary General

                                          • UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros - Ghali writes to Dr Bindeshwar Pathak congratulating him for his work for improving the situation of manual scavengers.
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                                          1994

                                          Sulabh opens a Museum of Toilets

                                            • The first of its kind in the world, the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets was set up in New Delhi. The curation of this unique museum is such that it narrates the story of toilet evolution through artefacts, pictures, posters and other available materials. The museum is hugely popular and has been profiled by the likes The Time Magazine and the Discovery Channel. Thousands visit the museum every year.
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                                            1996

                                            The Duckweed Project

                                              • Sulabh developed demonstration projects on duckweed-based cost effective and eco-friendly technology for wastewater treatment. The technology, besides having low operational and maintenance costs, gives economic return in area of pisciculture.
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                                              1996

                                              Sulabh International was granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.

                                                • Sulabh International was granted the Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. In the same year Sulabh technology is recognised as the Global Urban Best Practice by the United Nation Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) at Istanbul
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                                                1998

                                                India Prime Minister inaugurates a people’s commission set up by Sulabh

                                                  • A people’s commission on the abolition of manual scavenging constituted by Sulabh is inaugurated by the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Sulabh honoured the Prime Minister with the Honest Man of the Year Award.
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                                                  2001

                                                  A gendered approach to WASH

                                                    • Sulabh started a country-wide programme for involvement of women in sanitation, health and hygiene.
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                                                    2002

                                                    Sulabh Effluent Treatment (SET) Technology

                                                      • Sulabh developed a new and convenient technology to make biogas plant effluents free from colour, odour and pathogen-free. The technology known as SET (Sulabh Effluent Treatment) lowers BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) of effluent to less than 10 mg/l, making it suitable for agriculture, aquaculture or safe discharge into a river or any water body or cleaning of floors of public toilets.
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                                                    2003

                                                    Transforming the lives of manual scavengers

                                                      • Sulabh International took affirmative actions to transform the lives of manual scavengers in two towns: Alwar and Tonk. Its intervention involved setting up a skill and personality development centre called Nai Disha meaning new direction.
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                                                      2003

                                                      UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award bestowed

                                                        • Hon’ble Mrs. Anna K. Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-Habitat presenting the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour 2003 Award to Dr. Pathak.
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                                                        2003

                                                        UNDP recognizes Sulabh technologies in its Human Development Report.

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                                                          2004

                                                          UN team visits Sulabh

                                                            • Members of The U.N. Millennium Project Task Force on Water and Sanitation Visit Sulabh Campus.
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                                                            2005

                                                            A year of milestones

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                                                              2006

                                                              UNDP recognises Sulabh for the second time

                                                                • UNDP re- recognizes Sulabh technologies in its Human Development Report.
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                                                                2007

                                                                Sulabh hosts Word Toilet Summit

                                                                  • Sulabh organized the World Toilet Summit 2007 in collaboration with the World Toilet Organization (WTO) in which representatives of 44 countries participated. And after the three-day conference, a Delhi Declaration was issued for a cleaner world.
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                                                                  2008

                                                                  The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations honours liberated manual scavengers

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                                                                    2009

                                                                    Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak wins the Stockholm Water Prize

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                                                                      2010

                                                                      US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer visits Sulabh campus

                                                                        • US Ambassador His Excellency Timothy J. Roemer and his wife Sally visited the Sulabh campus. He was so inspired by Sulabh’s work that he spoke about it in his commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame.
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                                                                        2010

                                                                        Her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium, visits the Sulabh Campus

                                                                          • Her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium, wife of His Royal Highness Prince Philippe, first in line of succession to the throne of Belgium, visited the Sulabh Campus on March 23, 2010.
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                                                                          2012

                                                                          Sulabh steps in to provide care for the widows of Vrindavan

                                                                            • At the behest of India’s Supreme Court, Sulabh steps in to provide care for the widows living in the government shelters in Vrindavan. Since then Sulabh has been providing humanitarian services to thousands of widows in Vrindavan and Varanasi.
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                                                                            2013

                                                                            National Conference on the Sociology of Sanitation

                                                                              • In a National Conference on the Sociology of Sanitation, organized by Sulabh International Centre for Action Sociology Dr. Pathak said “Sociology of sanitation is a scientific study to solve the problems of society in relation to sanitation, social deprivation, water, public health, hygiene, ecology, environment, poverty, gender equality, welfare of children and empowering people for sustainable development and attainment of philosophical and spiritual knowledge to lead a happy life and to make a difference in the lives of others.”
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                                                                              2015

                                                                              Sulabh launches Purified Drinking Water

                                                                                • Sulabh International Academy of Environmental Sanitation & Public Health in collaboration with 1001 Fontaines , France undertook project on water supply to the rural community affected by arsenic groundwater contamination in four blocks of West Bengal. The initiatives in West Bengal have been designed with a view to build drinking water production sites in order to guarantee water quality at the point of use instead of focusing only on water source.
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                                                                                2015

                                                                                World’s largest public toilet opens

                                                                                  • Sulabh inaugurated the world’s largest toilet complex in Pandharpur Maharashtra is with 2858 toilet seats. It has bathing and locker facilities are used by four thousand people every day. Additionally, 36 public toilets have been constructed. These toilets are monitored round the clock and are disabled friendly.
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                                                                                  2015

                                                                                  Sulabh Founder named in the Economist Global Diversity List

                                                                                    • Sulabh founder, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak was named amongst the top 50 icons recognised in ‘The Global Diversity List’ by The Economist. The list included names like the US President Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie and Bill Gates.
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                                                                                    2016

                                                                                    Dr. Pathak received the WHO Public Health Champion” Award in New Delhi.

                                                                                      • Dr. Pathak received the WHO Public Health Champion” Award in New Delhi.
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                                                                                      2016

                                                                                      Mayor of New York dedicates April 14 , 2016 in the honour of Sulabh founder

                                                                                        • Mayor of New York City, Hon’ble Mr. Bill de Blasio honoured Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak with the Proclamation and declared April 14, 2016 as “Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak Day”.
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                                                                                        2018

                                                                                        Dr Pathak honoured with the Nekkei Asia Peace Prize in Tokyo

                                                                                          • Mayor of New York City, Hon’ble Mr. Bill de Blasio honoured Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak with the Proclamation and declared April 14, 2016 as “Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak Day”.
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                                                                                          2019

                                                                                          Sulabh was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize (2016)

                                                                                            • Sulabh was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize (2016) for its contribution to the Prime Minster of India, Narendra Modi’s flagship programme Swaach Bharat Abhiyan.
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                                                                                          • An innovation designed to alleviate human suffering

                                                                                            1968

                                                                                            Bindeshwar Pathak joined the Bihar Gandhi Centenary Celebration Committee. He experienced first-hand the discrimination and stigma faced by the community of people known as untouchables. To redeem them of their inhuman occupation of cleaning dry latrines, toilet technology was required. Dr Pathak goes on to invent low cost sanitation technology.

                                                                                            World largest public toilet

                                                                                            Sulabh inaugurated the world’s largest toilet complex in Pandharpur Maharashtra is with 2858 toilet seats. It has bathing and locker facilities are used by four thousand people every day. Additionally, 36 public toilets have been constructed. These toilets are monitored round the clock and are disabled friendly.

                                                                                            Dr. Pathak received the WHO Public Health Champion” Award in New Delhi.

                                                                                            Dr. Pathak received the WHO Public Health Champion” Award in New Delhi.

                                                                                            Mayor of New York dedicates April 14 , 2016 in the honour of Sulabh founder

                                                                                            Mayor of New York City, Hon’ble Mr. Bill de Blasio honoured Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak with the Proclamation and declared April 14, 2016 as “Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak Day”.

                                                                                            Dr Pathak honoured with the Nekkei Asia Peace Prize in Tokyo

                                                                                            Nikkei Inc., Japan, conferred the "23rd Nikkei Asia Prize 2018" in the category of "Culture and Community" to Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak for his outstanding achievements that contribute to the region's sustainable development and to the creation of a better future for Asia.

                                                                                            Promoting the catalyst role for NGOs

                                                                                            Sulabh was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize (2016)

                                                                                            Sulabh was awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize (2016) for its contribution to the Prime Minster of India, Narendra Modi’s flagship programme Swaach Bharat Abhiyan.

                                                                                            The Washington Times calls Sulabh movement a mini revolution

                                                                                            Temples for all

                                                                                            Soon after, Dr. Pathak launched a campaign to help the Scheduled Castes offer prayers in temples and perform puja at their homes by Vedic Brahmins.

                                                                                            Recognised with India’s third highest civilian award

                                                                                            In 1991, Dr Pathak was awarded Padama Bhushan by the President of India, Mr R.Venkataraman, for his “distinguished social service.”

                                                                                            Blessed by the Pope

                                                                                            His Holiness Pope John Paul-II gave audience to Dr Bindeshwar Pathak before awarding him with International Saint Francis Prize.

                                                                                            A personal message from UN Secretary General

                                                                                            UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros - Ghali writes to Dr Bindeshwar Pathak congratulating him for his work for improving the situation of manual scavengers.

                                                                                            Sulabh International was granted Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.

                                                                                            In the same year, Sulabh technology is recognised as the Global Urban Best Practice by the United Nation Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS) at Istanbul

                                                                                            UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award bestowed

                                                                                            Hon’ble Mrs Anna K. Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-Habitat presented the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour 2003 Award to Dr Pathak.

                                                                                            UNDP recognizes Sulabh technologies in its Human Development Report.

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                                                                                            Mass raids in Amsterdam: The first deportations of Dutch Jews

                                                                                            22 and 23 February, 1941 Amsterdam

                                                                                            On Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 February 1941, the Ordnungspolizei (German police) rounded up Jewish men at Jonas Daniël Meijerplein in Amsterdam. 427 men between the ages of 18 and 35 were arrested, forcibly pushed into lorries and deported. The razzia was Nazi punishment for fights that had occurred between Jews, antisemitic thugs, and the German police.

                                                                                            In the weeks prior to the raid, the atmosphere in Amsterdam had been turbulent. Assault groups of the NSB (the Dutch National-Socialist Movement) had constantly been looking to confront Jews. This had caused a lot of fighting. On 11 February, an NSB member was so badly injured that he died a few days later. The anti-Semitic press blamed it all on the Jews.

                                                                                            Shortly thereafter, unknown thugs smashed the windows of Koco ice cream parlour, a company run by two Jews who had fled Germany. In response, Jewish and non-Jewish customers formed their own assault team to protect the store. When the Ordnungspolizei raided the shop on 19 February, their faces were sprayed with ammonia.

                                                                                            The German authorities did not put up with the attack on their police officers. To put an end to the unrest, they decided to hold a razzia in the weekend of 22 and 23 February.

                                                                                            The Jews who were arrested were taken to Camp Schoorl. From there, they were deported to the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, where all but one of them died. The owners of Koco ice cream parlour were severely punished. Ernst Cahn was executed by the Germans on the Waalsdorpervlakte, in the dunes near The Hague, on 3 March 1941. Alfred Kohn died in Auschwitz.

                                                                                            The Amsterdam population was shocked by this brutal German action. A few days later, a major strike was organised in protest.

                                                                                            Operation Barbarossa: Germany invades the Soviet Union

                                                                                            June 22, 1941 Soviet Union

                                                                                            On 22 June 1941, Germany began a major attack on the Soviet Union, the communist state that consisted of Russia and a number of neighbouring countries. The attack was code-named 'Operation Barbarossa', and Hitler and the army had been preparing its execution for months. Three million German soldiers crossed the border. This effectively ended the nonaggression pact that the two countries had concluded before the invasion of Poland in 1939. There were three fronts: one aimed for the Baltic States in the north, a second was headed towards Moscow and a third attacked Ukraine and southern Russia.

                                                                                            The German invasion surprised the Soviet leadership. Stalin, the country's dictator, had not believed that Germany was sufficiently prepared for war. But then, neither was he, and so the German troops were able to advance without much resistance. Hitler hoped that winning the war would not take long, because the strategic position and the grain and oil reserves of the Soviet Union were indispensable if Germany wanted to keep Europe in its grip. During the first nine months of the advance, one million German soldiers were killed.

                                                                                            Germany was waging a war of destruction against the Soviet Union. It was the largest communist country in the world and the Nazis considered the communists their greatest enemies, in addition to the Jews. Moreover, the Nazis regarded the Russian people and the peoples in the Asian part of the Soviet Union as inferior. They would have to make way for German settlers. For that reason, the German army treated the population and the captured soldiers inhumanely. Millions of people died of hunger or diseases, or were executed.

                                                                                            The old hiding place becomes a museum: the Anne Frank House

                                                                                            May 3, 1960 Amsterdam

                                                                                            The annex at Prinsengracht 263 opened its doors to the public on 3 May 1960. The restoration was not finished yet, but the Secret Annex could be visited. The main building was furnished to accommodate exhibitions and a documentation centre.

                                                                                            At Otto's request, the Secret Annex was kept unfurnished. After the arrest of the people in hiding, it had been emptied by the Nazis and he wanted to keep it that way.

                                                                                            On the occasion of the opening, Otto Frank said: ‘I apologise for not speaking from this house after today. You will understand that the memories of everything that happened here are too powerful. I can only thank you all for the interest you have shown in coming here. And I hope that you will continue to support the work of the Anne Frank House and the International Youth Centre, morally and in every other respect.’

                                                                                            Anne's wish comes true: ‘Het Achterhuis’ (‘The Secret Annexe’) is published

                                                                                            June 25, 1947 Amsterdam

                                                                                            Anne's wish came true on 25 June 1947 when her book was published: Het Achterhuis. Dagboekbrieven van 14 juni 1942 - 1 augustus 1944 (The Secret Annex. Diary letters from 14 June 1942 - 1 August 1944). 3,000 copies were printed for the first edition.

                                                                                            Anne Frank: ‘Just imagine how interesting it would be if I were to publish a romance of the "Secret Annexe," the title alone would be enough to make people think it was a detective story.’

                                                                                            The book was well-received in the Netherlands, and the first Dutch edition soon sold out. In December 1947, after only six months, the second edition was published.

                                                                                            The people in hiding are discovered: They are arrested and put in prison

                                                                                            Aug. 4, 1944 Amsterdam

                                                                                            In the morning of 4 August 1944, Otto Frank was helping Peter van Pels with his language lessons. Edith was in her room. Police officers turned up at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. They went up to the office on the first floor where the helpers of the people in hiding were working. The police officers questioned Victor Kugler and searched the building in his presence. They ended up on the landing with the revolving bookcase and discovered the hiding place and the people who lived there.

                                                                                            Together with two of the helpers, Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler, the people from the Secret Annex were taken to the SD prison on Euterpestraat. They were interrogated one by one to find out whether they knew of any other addresses where people might be in hiding. Johannes and Victor kept silent. Otto Frank said that after 25 months in the Secret Annex, they had lost all contact with friends and acquaintances and therefore knew nothing.

                                                                                            After the interrogations, the people from the Secret Annex and the helpers were separated. Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler were taken to the detention centre at Amstelveenseweg, the eight people from the Secret Annex to the detention centre at Weteringschans. Helpers Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl were not arrested. After a little while, they went up to the empty hiding place. There, they discovered Anne's diary papers, which were left behind after the arrest. Miep held on to the diary until after the war.

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                                                                                            Lorem Ipsum Bergen-Belsen

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                                                                                            Otto returns to Amsterdam

                                                                                            June 3, 1945 Amsterdam

                                                                                            On 21 May 1945, Otto left the Ukrainian port of Odessa aboard the ‘Monowai’. Six days later, he arrived in the port of Marseille. Almost immediately, he travelled on to Amsterdam, where he showed up on the doorstep of helpers Jan and Miep Gies in the evening of 3 June. Johannes Kleiman and his wife and Fritz Pfeffer's fiancée immediately came over to greet him. The other helpers had survived the war as well.

                                                                                            Although Otto knew that Edith had died, he did not know what had happened to Anne and Margot. Every day, he went to Amsterdam Central Station, hoping to find them among the travellers returning from the concentration camps, and he placed an ad in the newspaper, hoping for news. He also got involved in the Opekta and Pectacon companies again.

                                                                                            Anne receives a diary

                                                                                            June 12, 1942 Amsterdam

                                                                                            For her thirteenth birthday, Anne Frank received a diary. ‘Maybe one of my nicest presents…’ she wrote about the red-checked book. The diary did not come as a surprise, because Anne had picked it out herself...

                                                                                            On the cover page, she wrote: ‘I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support. Anne Frank. 12 June 1942.’

                                                                                            Two days later, she wrote the next entry. She wrote about what happened and who were there, her birthday party, her gifts, her friends, being in love, her family history, and her school class.

                                                                                            Germany bombs Rotterdam. The Netherlands surrenders

                                                                                            May 14, 1940 Rotterdam

                                                                                            Rotterdam was an important target of the German attack on 10 May 1940. Paratroopers and soldiers who had landed on water tried to conquer the bridges. The Dutch army offered fierce resistance and the Germans failed to take the city. On 14 May, German general Schmidt gave the Dutch commander an ultimatum: if Rotterdam did not surrender that same afternoon, the city would be bombed.

                                                                                            The negotiators in Rotterdam did not know that the military leadership in Berlin had other plans. Hermann Göring, leader of the Luftwaffe, planned to bomb civilian targets to force the country to surrender. Even before the ultimatum had expired, German planes started dropping their bombs on downtown Rotterdam. When the smoke cleared, close to 80,000 people were homeless and around 850 people had died.

                                                                                            Germany threatened to bomb Utrecht as well. The Netherlands had no other option than to surrender. In a school building south of Rotterdam, General Winkelman signed the capitulation agreement on 15 May. With his signature, the Netherlands officially surrendered.

                                                                                            The defeat was hard on the Dutch military and civilians. Even so, many Dutch people were also relieved that the tension had subsided. Things were different for many of the Dutch Jews. They had heard terrible things about the Nazis. Now the Nazis had come to the Netherlands as well, and they were terrified. In the months following the invasion, hundreds of Jews committed suicide.

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                                                                                            Duckweed Project

                                                                                            Sulabh developed demonstration projects on duckweed-based cost effective and eco-friendly technology for wastewater treatment. The technology, besides having low operational and maintenance costs, gives economic return in area of pisciculture.

                                                                                            Historic Seminar

                                                                                            1978

                                                                                            Government of India conveyed a national seminar in collaboration with UNICEF and WHO in Patna on conversion of bucket latrines into sanitary water seal latrine. It was in this seminar Sulabh technology was hailed. It was further decided that the issues of sanitation, manual cleaning of toilets and personal hygiene must be given priority in the national development plans.

                                                                                            UN team visits Sulabh

                                                                                            Members of The U.N. Millennium Project Task Force on Water and Sanitation Visit Sulabh Campus

                                                                                            UNDP recognises Sulabh for the second time

                                                                                            UNDP once again recognizes Sulabh technologies in its Human Development Report.

                                                                                            Sulabh Founder named in the Economist Global Diversity List

                                                                                            Sulabh founder, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak was named amongst the top 50 icons recognised in ‘The Global Diversity List’ by The Economist. The list included names like the US President Barack Obama, Angelina Jolie and Bill Gates.

                                                                                            Innovation of Bio gas linked public toilets

                                                                                            1984

                                                                                            Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak wins the Stockholm Water Prize

                                                                                            Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak wins the Stockholm Water Prize conferred by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

                                                                                            Prime Minister of Sweden Mr. John Fredrik Reinfeldt, accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Filippa Reinfeldt, visited its Sulabh campus.

                                                                                            US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer visits Sulabh campus

                                                                                            US Ambassador His Excellency Timothy J. Roemer and his wife Sally visited the Sulabh campus. He was so inspired by Sulabh’s work that he spoke about it in his commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame.

                                                                                            Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium

                                                                                            Her Royal Highness Princess Mathilde of Belgium, wife of His Royal Highness Prince Philippe, first in line of succession to the throne of Belgium, visited the Sulabh Campus on March 23, 2010.

                                                                                            Sulabh steps in to provide care for the widows of Vrindavan

                                                                                            At the behest of India’s Supreme Court, Sulabh steps in to provide care for the widows living in the government shelters in Vrindavan. Since then Sulabh has been providing humanitarian services to thousands of widows in Vrindavan and Varanasi.

                                                                                            National Conference on the Sociology of Sanitation

                                                                                            In a National Conference on the Sociology of Sanitation, organized by Sulabh International Centre for Action Sociology Dr. Pathak said “Sociology of sanitation is a scientific study to solve the problems of society in relation to sanitation, social deprivation, water, public health, hygiene, ecology, environment, poverty, gender equality, welfare of children and empowering people for sustainable development and attainment of philosophical and spiritual knowledge to lead a happy life and to make a difference in the lives of others.”

                                                                                            Sulabh launches Purified Drinking Water

                                                                                            Sulabh International Academy of Environmental Sanitation & Public Health in collaboration with 1001 Fontaines , France undertook project on water supply to the rural community affected by arsenic groundwater contamination in four blocks of West Bengal. The initiatives in West Bengal have been designed with a view to build drinking water production sites in order to guarantee water quality at the point of use instead of focusing only on water source.

                                                                                            Demo toilets

                                                                                            1973

                                                                                            The journey of Sulabh toilet started from Arrah municipality, Bihar in 1973, where two toilet models were set up for public demonstration. The local authorities then supported and endorsed the idea.

                                                                                            Birth of Sulabh Sanitation Movement

                                                                                            1970

                                                                                            The low cost toilet then had to popularised and made easily available and hence Sulabh International was born as a non-governmental organisation with the sole objective of converting dry household latrines into two pit pour flush toilets he designed.

                                                                                            A year of milestones

                                                                                            Sulabh activities find mention in President APJ Abdul Kalam’s book ‘Mission India – A Vision for Indian Youth 2006’.

                                                                                            Stanford University includes article on Sulabh – ‘That Gandhi may not be born again’ – in its curriculum.
                                                                                            Five public toilets with biogas plants were set up in Kabul, Afghanistan, with the financial support of the Government of India.

                                                                                            The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations invited women who worked as manual scavengers

                                                                                            The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations invited women who worked as manual scavengers but were liberated by Sulabh to attend the Proceedings of the House at the United Nations. They also walked the ramp with famous models.

                                                                                            The Hon’ble President of India, Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, met Mrs. Usha Chaumar and other liberated scavengers at Rashtrapati Bhawan on July 25, 2008 on their return from New York.

                                                                                            In the same year, The liberated women scavengers visited Jagannath temple in Alwar along with their families and the families of those in whose houses they had earlier cleaned bucket toilets and they all jointly performed Puja in the temple. This was followed by a community lunch in which all of them participated jointly.

                                                                                            First Sulabh Public Toilet

                                                                                            1974

                                                                                            The first public toilet was inaugurated in Patna, Bihar. It had 48 seats, 20 bathrooms, urinals and wash basins. It was operated round the clock. The idea was an instant success. Over 500 people used the facility on day one. Over 9000 such toilets were built since then across India and abroad.

                                                                                            Transforming the lives of manual scavengers

                                                                                            Sulabh International took affirmative actions to transform the lives of manual scavengers in two towns: Alwar and Tonk. Its intervention involved setting up a skill and personality development centre called Nai Disha meaning new direction.

                                                                                            World Toilet Summit 2007

                                                                                            Sulabh organized the World Toilet Summit 2007 in collaboration with the World Toilet Organization (WTO) in which representatives of 44 countries participated. And after the three-day conference, a Delhi Declaration was issued for a cleaner world.

                                                                                            The New York Times

                                                                                            1980

                                                                                            The New York Times writes a special article hailing Sulabh’s work and its crusade to alleviate the sufferings of manual scavengers.

                                                                                            India Prime Minister inaugurates a people’s commission set up by Sulabh

                                                                                            A people’s commission on the abolition of manual scavenging constituted by Sulabh is inaugurated by the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Sulabh honoured the Prime Minister with the Honest Man of the Year Award.

                                                                                            A gendered approach to WASH

                                                                                            Sulabh started a country-wide programme for involvement of women in sanitation, health and hygiene.

                                                                                            Sulabh Effluent Treatment (SET) Technology

                                                                                            Sulabh developed a new and convenient technology to make biogas plant effluents free from colour, odour and pathogen-free. The technology known as SET (Sulabh Effluent Treatment) lowers BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) of effluent to less than 10 mg/l, making it suitable for agriculture, aquaculture or safe discharge into a river or any water body or cleaning of floors of public toilets.

                                                                                            Sulabh is awarded

                                                                                            1984

                                                                                            Sulabh is awarded with the K.P. Goenka Memorial Award for outstanding work for the benefit of environment and ecology – it is the first public award to bring the organisation into prominence

                                                                                            Training and Rehabilitation

                                                                                            1985

                                                                                            Sulabh started rehabilitation programme for children of manual scavengers in by training them to develop skills like shorthand, typing, motor driving, mechanics etc. It was done with the support of the Government. The programme was a huge success and was extended across the country. The programme was later expanded to include regular education and technical training.

                                                                                            Breaking social barriers

                                                                                            1988

                                                                                            Dr Pathak challenged the formulaic tradition that barred manual scavengers from entering temples. He led 200 such people (untouchables) into the Nathdwara Temple in Udaipur, Rajasthan, for prayers in a peaceful manner. This unprecedented step was widely hailed. Dr Pathak and the group was given audience by the then President Venkataraman, Vice-President, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma and Prime Minister, Mr. Rajiv Gandhi.

                                                                                            Mainstreaming of Manual Scavengers

                                                                                            1990

                                                                                            For the mainstreaming of manual scavengers and to do away with the practice of untouchability, Sulabh urged people of reputation to help - and even - adopt a family that worked as manual scavengers. Consequently, almost 5,000 scavenger families were adopted by high-status people, including judges, advocates, journalists, ministers.

                                                                                            Awareness Campaign

                                                                                            1992

                                                                                            TIn February 1992, Sulabh organised a ‘National Seminar on Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers’ in New Delhi in which Vice-Chancellors, professors, planners, and administrators passed a resolution to make it a people’s movement. The seminar was inaugurated by the former President of India, late Giani Zail Singh.

                                                                                            Education for All

                                                                                            1992

                                                                                            Sulabh Public School - an English medium school was established in Delhi. Primarily for the children of the scavengers, 60% of the children are from the weaker sections and the rest are from general families ensuring no discrimination. The Sulabh Vocational Training Centre was set up to provide vocational training to the children of weaker sections thereby enabling them to earn their own livelihood.

                                                                                            Sulabh International Museum of Toilets

                                                                                            1994

                                                                                            The first of its kind in the world, the Sulabh International Museum of Toilets was set up in New Delhi. The curation of this unique museum is such that it narrates the story of toilet evolution through artefacts, pictures, posters and other available materials. The museum is hugely popular and has been profiled by the likes The Time Magazine and the Discovery Channel. Thousands visit the museum every year.