Towards a Clean & Healthy Life
If water is life, sanitation is undoubtedly a `way of life,’ and access’ to such facilities has an impact on the quality of human life and health.
The Swach Bharat Mission has brought a revolution towards cleanliness in the whole country. However, the irony is that some people still opt for open defecation with no choice. One such woman is Bali Bai Bheel from village Lathiakhedi, Dariba who strived to get out of this situation.
Bali Bai was born and brought up in the lower class family. She never got an opportunity to be in school unlike other girls of her village. She got married at a very young age of 19 years. Her husband Shankar Lal Bheel is a daily wage labourer and struggle hard to make their end meets. She has two children.
In the villages, it was common to defecate in the open. Every day I used to go for nature’s call in the open fields and felt terrible about it. But I understood the consequences and health issues associated with it after being part of the Self Help group. Going to fields for nature’s call was the most embarrassing part of my everyday routine which I couldn’t avoid. I couldn’t construct the toilet because of my poor economic condition.
After joining the Self Help Group and attending one of the weekly meetings she discussed her everyday woes and fears of defecating in the open. The Manjari Foundation, the Field Coordinator Ms. Sapna Khatik, decided to help her.
She took the initiative and discussed with the other villagers for the best possible solution. It was the result of her efforts and other SHG members that one fine day they met Mr. Chawand Singh Rathore (a social worker by profession). He belongs to Sindesarkala village and works voluntarily to help the community. Mr Chawand Singh Rathore came forward and donated 19,500 rupees for construction of the toilet.
Now Babu Bai and her family not only use the toilet but also create awareness and promote the toilet construction in her village and nearby villages also.
Today with the sparkle in her eyes she says, “SHG is not just a platform, to create women pioneers. Indeed it is a way with which we have developed the better understanding of a wide range of social issues which has brought positive changes in our thinking and behavior.
Self-Help Group (SHG) persuaded Babu Bai and her family, the importance of sanitation. It made the toilet accessible to her. Now Babu Bai and her family don’t have to go to fields anymore. In fact, she is helping other SHG members and villagers to avail the benefits from the government program such as Swach Bharat.