Open defecation is not a habit but is a way of life for many people across the country especially in rural areas. Swachh Bharat abhigyaan introduced by Govt of India aims at fighting this problem from the roots. Did it succeed ? Yes. It did !! Here are the examples
Example 1 – Women suffer a lot due to non availability of toilets. One day, ten women in Ratnapur village in Madhya Pradesh woke up at dawn and started working on creating temporary toilets by digging pits and using old clothes as cover. By afternoon, they were able to create five temporary toilets. The local authorities took up the issue and with the help of an NGO Yuva Forum, the village was declared defecation free by AUG 15 and every home had a toilet constructed.
Example 2 – 104 years old Kunwarbai Yadav lives in Kotabhari, remote hamlet in Dhantri forest area where 18 families live together. Not even one house has a toilet. They never thought of constructing one. When this woman heard about Swachh Bharat Abhigyan, she decided to construct a toilet in her house and thus she inspired all the families living there. Thus a thought of 104 year old woman made another hamlet open defecation free.
Example 3 – Another village , Pipalya mira in Madhya pradesh also launched a innovative campaign. The village was declared open defecation free after construction of toilets in all homes but some people were reluctant to use. The village now deployed the children who would wake up early and topple the containers which villagers carry for open defecation. Also, they would go around with whistles and blow them if someone tries to defecate in open. They fondly named the gang as ‘Dabba Dhol gang’. This gang is inspiring other villages to form such gangs.
Example 4 – The authorities of the Bilaspur district in Chhattisgarh came up with an unique idea for RakshaBandhan. Generally on this day, brothers promise protection to their sisters. This year, the authorities launched a contest ‘Mor Bhai No 1’ which asked brothers to promise their sisters – a toilet which protects them from diseases. The announced a cash prize of 12,000 to the winner of the contest. They received about 2,500 registrations. Sriram, a farmer from Manjoor Pehri gifted her differently-abled sister with a toilet and won the contest. Before that his sister used to face a lot of hardships due to her disability as she has to go out of the village on her tricycle for her needs. During monsoon rains, two people have to manually take out for her needs. This contest ended her woes.
There are many examples to show that Swachh Bharat has succeeded. But it is on us to keep that up. When people in villages are embracing the change, we living in cities have no reason not to embrace the change. Let’s keep our surroundings clean !!.