“I am going to build a toilet at home and give my mother some relief,” said Asmita determinedly.
Asmita is a resident of Katikke Tole, Jogidanda Village, Bahuntilpung VDC, Ward No. 4 in the Sindhuli district. She has been caring for her visibly impaired mother for many years, and she used to believe that toilets were only for the rich. Asmita had never understood the importance of using a toilet until the triggering exercise that took place through NEWAH.
Once Asmita realized the importance of sanitation, she took on the responsibility of building a toilet at home. Since her brother was away, she dug the toilet pit, cut the bamboo to make the structure, and with the support of a local she constructed a temporary toilet at home.
Asmita said, “Only when it triggered that we were living the life of animals and ingesting human excreta did I realize that I had to build a toilet and free myself and the family from this burden. So I decided that the toilet must be built at once. Though we use a temporary toilet now, I have started to collect stones to build a permanent toilet. A permanent toilet close to home will help my mother more than anyone.” Asmita has even made up her mind to sell the buffalo to afford a permanent structure.
Asmita’s mother is glad that she does not have to defecate out in the open anymore and she is very happy about her daughter’s determination. She said, “Even the temporary toilet is of great relief for me. I don’t have to worry about going far out in the open or during the rains to relieve myself. A toilet is definitely necessary for the elderly and someone like me.”
Asmita’s mother was also proud of her daughter’s efforts in gardening. “Since Asmita has also received kitchen gardening training from the project, she has already planted many vegetables in the garden. I believe we can make some money to meet our household expenses. I am sure her effort will reap the benefits. She even says that she will not marry into a house without a toilet.”
Listening to her mother, Asmita responded timidly, “Even though I am literate, I did not really know much about the toilet or its importance. Everyone in the village defecated openly and so did we. But now a trend has begun to construct toilets in the community. Not a sight of faeces can be traced. We declared our village an open defecation free area on 21 September 2011.”
Asmita also talked excitedly about the future. “Now our goal is to build permanent toilets, intake, tanks and taps, keep our water safe and improve our personal, household and environmental sanitation. I feel if we all unite, success is inevitable. I feel proud that NEWAH is helping facilitate our VDC to declare open defecation free in the future.”
Written by: Ms. Premkumari Kaucha
Project: Jogidanda WASH Project
Location: Bahuntilpung VDC 4, Sindhuli District
Donor Agency: WaterAid
Date: September 2011