“I am proud to spread the message of sanitation learnt at school in my community”
Jannat, Student, Satya Bharti School, Udharsi, Kurukshetra (Haryana)
On her daily route to school 10-year old Jannat often caught sight of members from an underprivileged family, they had no access to basic amenities such as individual sanitation facilities. In school, the lessons on sanitation and hygiene taught by her teachers left an indelible impression on Jannat. She was concerned for the safety and health risks associated with open defecation that the lesser privileged family may already be facing. Armed with the encouragement of her teachers and the confident of herself after learning her own responsibility as a member of the community, Jannat decided to make a difference.
On interacting with them she learnt that they were living in acute poverty and did not possess the financial resources required to build even a basic toilet. Left with no option but to relieve themselves outdoors, the family regularly suffered from humility and illness arising from unsanitary conditions. Visits to the doctor, cost of medicines and the consequent inability to earn their daily wages added a further strain on their limited resources. Jannat left their house with a heavy heart but also a deep resolve to help the family.
With encouragement from her teachers, Jannat walked up to the Sarpanch of their village during a school event where he was invited as a chief guest. A determined Jannat explained the underprivileged family’s socio-economic condition and the urgency of providing them a toilet as a community initiative. Moved by her impassioned plea, the Sarpanch pledged to utilize funds from a Government scheme and thus provide them with free building materials for the toilet.
Today the happy family is virtually free of illnesses and to their greatest relief they have regained their dignity. Jannat’s sense of purpose, awareness and compassion helped resolve the problem of open defecation in the neighbourhood impacting the entire community.
Story sourced by:
Ms. Surmeer Kaur,
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