From sanitation to sensation: 11 women mop the lottery floor in India

Picture courtesy of Sanook.

Life has taken a decidedly fortunate turn for 11 female sanitation workers in southern India, who are no longer in the shit after scooping 100 million Indian rupees (41 million baht) on a united lottery ticket.

These women, who were previously struggling to make ends meet with meagre daily wages of 250 Indian rupees (100 baht), can now look forward to a brighter future.

Based in the district of Malappuram, the women had been facing financial challenges, often having to borrow money to cover their children’s school fees and household expenses. To escape the daily grind, they resorted to a shared ritual of buying lottery tickets, hoping for a life-changing win.

Lady Luck finally graced them with her presence when they hit the jackpot, and their lives took an unexpected turn. The winnings, after distribution and tax deductions, are expected to amount to about 6.3 million Indian rupees (2.6 million baht) per person.

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Their journey to triumph began when they decided to pool their money and buy a 250-rupee ticket for a monsoon bumper prize lottery, a special issuance for festive occasions. The heartwarming aspect of their win lies in the unity and support the women offered each other.

Kuttimalu, one of the winners, shares her experience.

“Cherumannil Baby (another member) told me she had 25 rupees and was willing to lend me half of it for the ticket.”

Their camaraderie led them to contribute equally to the purchase, with the rest of the group also joining in. The 72 year old said…

“We agreed we would get an equal share if we won anything. We didn’t expect to win such a huge amount of money!”

The revelation of their jackpot came a day after the draw when one of them asked her husband to check the results. Radha, another fortunate winner, expressed her amazement.

“This is the fourth time we bought a ticket for the bumper prize. We are fourth time lucky!”

Among the elated winners is 62 year old Beena, whose home was flooded at the time of the win. Overwhelmed by her good fortune.

“I have never had any good luck before.”

For some of the women, this jackpot represents a chance to overcome past hardships. Sixty-two-year-old Baby, who lost her home in the devastating floods of 2018, plans to use the money to build a new house and settle her debts.

Others have similar aspirations. Bindu, who lost her husband to kidney failure, intends to use the winnings to fund her daughter’s education, while Lakshmi plans to support her daughter’s studies as well, especially after her husband, a construction worker, faced difficulties in finding work due to heavy rains.

Leela, another winner, was previously worried about affording her daughter’s surgery and had taken a loan against her house for her wedding. Now, with this financial windfall, she can put those worries to rest.

Each of these remarkable women has unique plans for their newfound wealth. While some intend to invest in their children’s future, others look forward to sponsoring medical treatments for their families.

Even with their new fortunes, the group remains grounded. They have decided to continue with their current jobs and maintain their lottery participation. With a touch of humour, they stated…

“We won the jackpot because we work together. That’s why we were lucky with a lottery ticket we pooled money to buy.”

Despite public lotteries being prohibited in several Indian states, the offerings by the Kerala state government remain immensely popular among residents. And for these 11 sanitation workers, the lottery proved to be a life-changing blessing, illuminating their paths with hope and possibilities for a brighter tomorrow.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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