Kamlesh lives in district Mahendergarh, Haryana. She is educated up to eighth grade and is a housewife with a six member family, including a daughter, two sons, and mother-in-law. Kamlesh’s husband Sher Singh’s livelihood is as a daily wage laborer. Since the family has a meagre income, they live in two small rooms without a toilet. The absence of a toilet forces the family members to use the outdoors, which is specially demeaning and insecure for the women of the family. Members of the family used to get ill due to not going to the toilet in time, and precious income was spent on healthcare. The women went outdoors only in groups, but the availability of groups was uncertain, and there was fear of animals and mischievous people.
In October 2020, Sher Singh attended a village level meeting, organized under a CSR-supported project implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation, on the subject of hygiene and sanitation, where the Village Development Committee members were collecting names of individuals to construct subsidized toilets in their homes. The total cost of building a toilet is INR 28,000 and the beneficiary is required to pay INR 8,000. Sher Singh consulted his wife and, even though INR 8,000 was a substantial amount of money for this family, Kamlesh requested Sher Singh to go ahead with the building of the toilet as their need was so acute. She also presented the perspective of the unique opportunity of benefiting from such a significant subsidy.
In October 2020, the toilet was constructed in Kamlesh’s house, which had a great impact on her family. The family now promotes household toilets to other community members.
Kamlesh says, “I am thankful to the project for providing me with the boon of a toilet, I have also decided to only marry my daughter into a home that has a toilet.”
Authors: Ramdiya and NP Singh
(Ramdiya is field assistant and NP SIngh is program lead, Agricultural Development, S M Sehgal Foundation)