Times have changed and so should we: Rameshamma
When 56-year-old Rameshamma of Y Mallapur village in Karnataka’s Raichur district first joined the village SHG, she came to know of an initiative that was helping people construct toilets in their houses. Rameshamma did not have a toilet in her house; the family would therefore go out, in open spaces and fields to relieve themselves. The idea of having their own toilet, therefore, intrigued her. “Times are changing. Just because we did not have a toilet earlier does not mean we should continue living like that,” she said, “I wanted a different life.”
To bring her aspirations into reality, Rameshamma decided to discuss the matter with the SHG leader, Mahadevi. “I have six members in my family and a toilet, I knew, would really ease our lives,” she said, “No longer would we have to wait for a particular time to relieve ourselves. No longer would girls who are menstruating face problems and the threat of snakes and insects while going out.” To add weight to her own conviction, when Rameshamma heard WaterAid’s awareness messages of how a toilet can help one prevent diseases and ensure good health, she became determined in her decision. No more open defecation, she thought. WaterAid India in association with Water.Org has been working in the area for some time.
Thus she decided to take a loan from Self Help Group to build the family’s toilet.
"All around me, community members were becoming aware of the importance of having a toilet and safe sanitation practices. Now everyone wants one toilet for their family. And so, like me, women began taking loans to get one built in their house,” Rameshamma said.
The first emotion that Rameshamma felt when the toilet became functional was a wave of relief. “I could go (to relieve myself) late at night, without any company, without fear,” she said, “A pregnant woman could do so too, or a young girl, or an aged person.” Then, after some thought she added, “A toilet has made us feel so much safer than before. It is protecting us from diseases. Just like the whole world, we finally evolved with times too.”