This post is a part of the Domex initiative with Indiblogger as a campaign against open defecation in villages. Do visit the www.domex.in site and check out the campaign.
Babli is a small girl, about 8 to 10 years of age. She lives with her mother and father in a nondescript village in the backward region of Bundelkhand. She is scared of leopards and jackals like any normal kid but, she still braves through the fear every morning to go outside for defecation. Yesterday, she heard that Golu, her friend was attacked by some animal in the wee hours of the morning when he was out. She is scared to go out today. She feels like crying but doesn’t want to cry as she knows her amma and baba cannot help her. They have no money to build a toilet for her and have more important things to worry about than toilets.
She feels really ashamed when she has to go by the roadside as the jungle is too dangerous. Whenever a car or a truck passes by, she wishes that she was invisible and sometimes she even tries to hold her bowel movements wishing that it would go away. Amma says it is not good for her health but then, is open defecation good for her health?
Her friend Radha fell sick a week ago. The village doctor uncle said that it was because she contacted germs due to open defecation. Babli now is even more apprehensive of going out for relieving herself. She had gone to Radha’s home. Radha was vomiting and her face had turned yellow. Her mother had tears in her eyes and her father had a deserted look in his eyes. Babli could not stay there for long. She came back with a heavy heart. Radha too is from a poor family. How will they handle the expenses for Radha ‘s treatment? Little Babli was growing up faster than girls her age with so many worries on her mind. She felt like a 100 years old already. She looked closely at Amma’s face. She too seemed to be aging fast. Babli wondered why are all the females aging so fast and whether it was an epidemic.
Babli took it upon herself to find a solution to this problem. She couldn’t let this fear consume her for the rest of her life. She talked to her school teacher about her problems and fears. The teacher happened to be very understanding and kind. She took it upon herself to find out the ways Babli could be helped. After little research, she chanced upon the Domex initiative in Maharashtra and Orissa and decided to build their own toilets with help from an NGO they knew. All the kids from the village and nearby villages started writing to them about their problem and in a few days, they had a dedicated team which reached those places to help build toilets. Babli goes happily and safely to the toilet every morning.
Right now, this is merely a story but we can, with proper motivation and dedication bring light to these homes which remain lacking in basic sanitary privileges essential to human habitation.
Come, let us change lives!