A toilet can be a thing of aspiration: for a better, more comfortable future
Forty-five-year-old Thimalamma of Karnataka’s Jalmbaldinni village remembers the times when she had to walk a kilometre from her house just to find a space to relieve herself. “There were times when, after walking all that distance, I had to come back without defecating because there were too many men around,” she said. But it was a life everyone around her led and Thimalamma thought she had to too. Until WaterAid and Water.Org came in and made people aware of the possibility—and importance—of having a toilet at their home. For the first time, Thimalsamma felt excited about the possibility of living a different life.
“Some people in my village live with the same old mindset that since we have lived without toilets for so long, we can continue living so now as well,” she said, “But I don’t agree. I have faced so many problems because of this and I don’t want our future generation to continue facing these problems.”
There are four members in Thimalamma’s family—she, her husband, her son, and his wife. “My daughter-in-law is pregnant. I know the kind of problems a pregnant woman faces when she has to go out to relieve herself in this state,” she said. Determined to finally take things into her hands, she, therefore, went to ask for a loan from the SHG to build their own toilet.
“I took a loan of INR 15,000 to build the toilet,” she said, “And it was so worth it.” A far cry from the times when each member of the family would have to time their normal bodily function as per the time of the day, now “anyone can use the toilet anytime they need—without fear or embarrassment”.
“My husband and I are getting old and having this toilet now is such a blessing. Our children are able to live their lives in peace and so will our future generations. I am very happy,” Thimalamma said. Encouraged by the change in their lives, she now plans to save some money and later change the squat-style toilet to a western pot for more ease.