As I wrote last time, the expanded activities of the project this year have included sanitation awareness, and assisting in the construction of toilets. Curbing the practice of open defaction imporves both the health and the environment of the children, as well as others in the village. This month I would like to share with you the story of Sunderbai, who has been helped to construct a toilet by the project, and who's family are enjoying the benefits.
Sunderbai is a 52 year old, single, mother-of-two. She works in the bidi (cigar) rolling houses, and lives in Sukewadi village. Her eldest son is married and has a 2 year old child of his own. Her second son is in school. The money that Sunderbai obtains from her difficult, carcinogenic work is not enough to provide for the household.
Like many families in the village, Sunderbai's family previously had to defecate openly, not having access to toilet facilities. They used to have to walk long distances to defecate, so that they would not be seen. Nevertheless they would recieve a lot of abuse for engaging in this practice when they had little alternative. Things became worse when Sunderbai's daughter-in-law came to live with them. Because they could only go late night or early morning, much of the family experienced stomach problems, and Sunderbai herself lost a lot of money by having to take time off work and also pay medical bills.
When the project workers came to hear of her situation, she was a clear candidate for toliet construction support. A toilet was constructed, and Sunderbai and her family were shown how to use and look after it.
Now the whole family are very happy to have their own toilet which they can make use of at any time. The daughter in law feels much more comfortable in her new home, and relations with wealthier neighbours are now free from abuse and insults. The members of the family are now all able to reach their places of work and education on time, and can focus on their respective tasks. They have also learned a great deal about basic hygeine and sanitation through this intervention, and expenditure on health treatment has reduced so much that Sunderbai has even been able to save a little money (!)
These basic things which we take for granted mean so much in the daily lives of people who don't have them.
Thank you so much for supporting families such as Sunderbai's in this way.