Free from the threat of diseases and safety concerns—all because of a toilet

Story type
Case story

Thirty-five-year-old Seema of Uttar Pradesh’s Harnoo village had a major regret: the family could not get a toilet constructed when their house was made. “We did not have enough money (for the toilet),” she said. It was a requirement, Seema said, the women particularly felt an urgent need for. “I had to go out and look for a place to defecate, scared of people, insects, and the threat of infecting myself,” she elaborated, “I am glad all of that has changed and my daughter does not have to go through the ordeal as much as I did.”


Seema’s life took a turn when the Self Help Group that she is a part of in the Kanpur district was sensitised by WaterAid India, with the support of, about the importance of water, sanitation, and hygiene to their health. Having a household toilet was an important means to achieving health and preventing diseases, she was told. This galvanised Seema’s will to look for an opportunity to get a toilet in her house.


She did not have to seek far.


Seema was told that with a loan from the SHG, she could build a toilet in her house. “It was easy to get the loan from the SHG and unlike a bank loan when you have to repay the amount under many obligations, here I could repay in easy installments,” she said. Seema took a loan of INR 30,000 from the SHG to build her toilet.

“Life has changed so much after the toilet has been built,” she said happily, “I no longer have to bear the burden of walking far and looking for a safe space to relieve myself.” Then, after some thought she added, “Most of all, I am happy that my daughter no longer has to be scared to defecate or worry about her safety.”