Cleaning Brothers: Breaking the labour barrier with dignity
S Henlly Phom
Dimapur, July 16 (EMN): Nagaland is facing a grim situation of high number of unemployed youth that is amplified more by the lack of skilled professionals. Severe talent scarcity and unemployment go alongside in Nagaland coupled with absence of corporate sectors that throw a massive question mark over the future of its educated youth.
In the words of YouthNet Nagaland director, Lezo Putsure, during a seminar conducted a month ago – skilled workers from Assam, Bengal, Orissa and Bangladesh will overtake Nagaland by 2030 and according to National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) Nagaland will fall short of skilled Naga youth target.
The shortage of skilled youth is quite upsetting as there are around 1, 60,000 unemployed youths in the state, and in 2016 alone 13, 593 aspirants applied for Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC) for 73 posts according to official data.
In Nagaland manual labour is seen to be less respectable and desirable, and the history of belittling labour is an old one while we obsess over white collar jobs.
However, breaking this stereotyping of manual labour in Nagaland are 15 young men from Dimapur who recognises themselves as ‘Cleaning Brothers (CB)’. Formed in 2015, the Cleaning Brothers are not new to being in the limelight and they have already set a benchmark for many.
Khekavi Sema – the brainchild of CB also the Managing Director (MD), an MBA graduate from ICFAI University Dimapur started his career working in a construction company in Dimapur for few months. It was an evening of conversation with some unemployed dropout youths in his locality that gave him the idea to start a venture which will not only provide employment to them but service to the people.
Cleaning Brothers which provides residential and commercial services was formed with the motto, true to their mission, ‘For every service you avail you are contributing to empower youth resource in Nagaland’,
If you think the Cleaning Brothers are prospering money-wise than they have their own share of struggles even after creating a benchmark and recognition from the society.
Their first effort was at Khekavi’s home where they cleaned the water tank that earned them Rs 500 which they utilised in buying cleaning equipments. This gave them an idea that there was much more than white collar jobs which encouraged them to go beyond cleaning. In their own circle and locality the CB generated contacts and modestly acknowledges their clients as a source of inspiration.
Cleaning Brothers confesses they were initially shy when they had to do manual work which is regarded as less respectable. However working together as CB, they asserted ‘everyday was and is fun’.
Working as CB has never been easy for them as they face restriction from their family especially going home empty-handed after a day of hard labour. “The money that we get paid for our job are invested in buying cleaning equipments and once we are sufficient we will think of paying ourselves”, confides the committed young lads.
The Cleaning Brothers unplugged
“Everyday whatever we do is building our life and we should be committed. Success is our journey and we should be committed. Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about bringing changes in people’s life and yourself.”
~ Tovi Swu.
“I only depended on my parents never understanding how they go through in their life in order to provide a comfortable life. But after joining CB, I have been motivated for better and now I understand how a person should live his life. Besides education, a person should learn the meaning of ‘sweat and toil’. As a co- founder of CB what I want to convey to the Naga youth is ‘life is not about having lots of money or education but life is about learning with dignity.”
“Society says the hardest job is the most challenging on but according to me the simplest job which everyone had kept aside is the most challenging one. We hear society talking about cleaning, environment, preservation etc but the same society forgets the ‘real talk’. We should not seek for instant money making and should learn to invest. Through my stint with CB I have learned we do not have to depend on others for employment if we are determined.”
~ Adaso Khalu.
“My parents are yet to approve my stint with Cleaning Brothers because we have been working without any income for ourselves as whatever we are getting paid is selflessly invested but I believe that our hard work will pay off.”
~ Visietuo Zumvu.
“Naga parents press their children for government jobs while overlooking that they have to stand on their own feet. So they should let their children live their dream job”.
“I never realised the fun of work but after joining CB I realised that there is fun in work when you are committed whatever the job profile be.”
For Khekavi, he is willing to employ as many people as he can, providing experience and employment to the many wandering youths. Recently they have ventured into landscape gardening – which he says is a learning experience for them as gardening is considered as a woman’s work.
Even though Khekavi runs CB as the MD, he confesses “my father is yet to approve of my enterprise and I pay for the office rent which was inaugurated last month that I had set up in my dad’s building.”
The Cleaning Brothers are epitome of the maxim “dignity of labour”- determined, committed and they do not have ‘NO’ for any work requested by their client leaving a professional cleaning service daily, weekly and monthly. To experience their dedication, they are just a call away at your service.