Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of the New Delhi-based Sulabh Sanitation Movement, has been named the recipient of the New York Global Leaders Dialogue (NYGLD) Humanitarian Award for 2016. “Pathak is a great humanitarian who for decades has enhanced the quality of life for millions of fellow human beings,” NYGLD chairman Phil Scanlan, said in a statement. “He embodies our philosophy of leadership, namely, that leadership is focused on creating collaborative new space in the service of others.”
Pathak and his project were nominated for the award after Scanlan along with advisory council members Pam Kwatra and Ketan Patel saw some of Pathak’s works first-hand.
Pathak founded Sulabh International, a social and behavior change coalition of which Sulabh Sanitation Movement is a part, to promote the adoption of improved hygiene practices throughout India.
Sulabh engages about 50,000 people and has constructed roughly 1.3 million household toilets and 54 million government toilets. Because of Sulabh’s work, about 15 million people use those toilets daily.
Pathak, 72, is a graduate of Patna University, where he received his M.A. in sociology and English, as well as his doctorate. Added Kwatra, “My colleagues and I have been motivated by the way an Indian sanitation activist through his movement is changing the lives of millions of Indians. It’s highly commendable that his work is restoring the dignity of the marginalized and mainstreaming them in society.”
The NYGLD thought leadership platform fosters international understanding, collaboration and intergenerational connectivity, bringing together public and private sectors, as well as civil society, according to the statement. Leaders across the globe come together to exchange ideas and resolve planetary challenges.
Pathak is a great humanist and known as a social reformer for his 42 years long campaign against untouchability in different parts of India, a statement issued by NYGD stated. “Pathak’s belief that providing the simple things we take for granted such as toilets can be a tool for social change and that innovation is integral to improving the lives of those on the margins of society,” Kwatra added. Pathak will be honored April 12, 2016, in New York.