Last year, when I started off as a first year student of rural development, I was really ambitious. We need to discuss about ill effects of open defecation? No problem! I had a fool proof plan in my head to not only ensure that people know why open defecation is bad, but also to see to it that their mindset is changed. With starry eyes, I entered a village from the first day onwards started preaching. That was my mistake, preaching, not listening. By the end of the third day, after I was frustrated at seeing no results, I decided to slow down. A went to a group of women for a casual chat. And that casual chat taught me one of the biggest lessons in social work, ‘Never ever assume’.
Oh come on, don’t make a face. It should not be something very difficult to talk about. You have one, so do I. We have a nice running water supply and a clean wash basin and hand wash, too. So why do we squirm or grimace when someone starts talking about the ‘T’ word. Maybe because a majority of our countrymen are not fortunate enough to own one? Or are we willing to ignore this problem because it does not matter to us?
When I spoke to the group of women they gave me various reasons for not having a toilet
“I cannot afford it”
“I have filled the form in the Panchayat, but they won’t pass it without a bribe”
“I have a toilet but no water supply”
“We needed money urgently so we used the money meant for building a toilet. Now, we are not eligible for the scheme anymore”
The problems they faced due to not having a toilet were:
“Those boys giggle when I pass by with a lota of water”
“People on the road stare at me”
“Men stop by just to harass us”
“I have to go at 3 in the morning and insects bite me”
I went to one village after the other and talked to countless number of women. All of them wanted one thing. A toilet. Not a fancy demand is it? But unfortunately, their families just did not have the means for getting one. The government has the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan in place, which is good on paper, but in reality, there are very few households who actually benefit from it. This is where Domex has stepped in and has started the Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) programme where it aims to provide basic sanitation facilities to 24, 000 households by end of 2015.
You can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is “click” on the “Contribute Tab” on www.domex.in and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.
Babli and her family are waiting for a toilet. You can help them with a click. The question is will you?
This post has written as a part of #ToiletForBabli initiative in association with domex.in and Indiblogger. Image has been taken from domex.in