There is this street in Bangalore that is home to many slums and street dwellers. I pass by this street quite often and whenever I walk by, I see children openly defecating, even in broad daylight. People crossing this street cover their noses with their kerchief or just turn their face the other way. There are so many families staying on this street but there are no public toilets available anywhere near this locality. Men and women use the nearby railway tracks to relieve themselves while their little one’s squat openly on the footpath near their homes.
If this is the condition in urban cities, then the condition of people in rural villages is worse than a nightmare. Even this century of advanced technology and innovations, nearly 50 percent of India’s population defecates in the open. Women are forced to sacrifice their dignity and they are exposed to a physical abuse and rape. Earlier this year, 2 young girls, aged 12 and 14, from a rural village of Katra, UP, walked to a nearby field to relieve themselves. They walked a quarter-mile from their home into a field full of sharp and thorny bushes. These young girls were then kidnapped, gang-raped and then hanged from a mango tree by their head scarves.
This dastardly act, while shocking, also creates so much anger in me. A basic sanitary facility was all that was needed to probably save the young lives. Women are exposed to danger during these vulnerable situations and the fact that they take this risk daily is definitely distressing. Apart from the threat of abuse to women, defecating in the open also increases the risk of spread of diseases like Cholera, Hepatitis, Diarrhoea and Typhoid.
There is also a need to educate and enlighten people on hygiene and the importance of using toilets. Sue Coates chief of Wash (water, sanitation and hygiene) at Unicef says that "Just building toilets is not going to solve the problem, because open defecation is a practice acquired from the time you learn how to walk. When you grow up in an environment where everyone does it, even if later in life you have access to proper sanitation, you will revert back to it," (quoted from http://www.bbc.com/)
There are a number of organizations working towards making India open defecation free. Our Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi, has vowed to eliminate open defecation in India. “Toilets First, Temples Later” was a important agenda in his election campaign. Indian government has also initiated hygiene and sanitation awareness programs in rural villages and the “No Toilet, No Bride” campaign, launched in Haryana urged women to reject prospective grooms if there were no sanitary facilities in his house.
In the fight against open defecation Domex has also been playing a significant role by launching the Domex Toilet Academy which provides long term solutions in educating men and women from rural areas in proper hygiene and sanitation.
It’s the need of the hour to provide proper sanitation facilities and create awareness among people in rural areas of dangers related to open defecation. You can help too in this campaign by going to the Domex site and click on the Contribute tab. With every click, Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation. Let’s all pledge to make India a beautiful, healthy and safe country.
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.