A mother's concern

Story type
Case story

Like any other mother, the safety of her children is a top priority for 45-year-old Pooja of Uttar Pradesh’s Harnoo village. But how could this mother ensure her 17-year-old daughter’s safety each time she stepped out to relieve herself? Access to the toilet, for Pooja and her daughter, Neetu, was more of a safety issue than anything else. Getting teased or being passed lewd comments by wayward men as the women looked for a place to relieve themselves was a situation they faced often and Pooja wanted a way out. Thanks to an initiative by WaterAid India, help was soon in sight.


Pooja works as a farm labourer in her village in the Kanpur district. She is also a part of the village Self Help Group where the women have learnt how to manage their finances. A few months back however, when WaterAid India intervened with its messages on the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene in their lives and the importance of having a household toilet, it immediately struck a chord with most of them. Pooja was one of them.


“I was always scared when my daughter went out to relieve herself alone,” she said, “It was a walk of at least a kilometre and I would not be able to rest easy until she came back.” Neetu, her daughter, said that she would be equally nervous taking the trip each day. “I would be scared to go alone, most times I would take someone with me. People would stare, or say something rude, and pass comments. It was horrible.”

A toilet can restore dignity

Motivated by the awareness messages on the importance of having a toilet - a proper sanitation facility, maintaining hygiene, for health as well as safety, Pooja, therefore, decided to take an interest-free loan of INR 18,000 from the Self Help Group. With this, she decided to get a toilet built in her house.

Fast-forward to now, Pooja and her family are leading a healthier life, free from the worries that concerned them earlier. “With the toilet, I and my daughter can go anytime, without worry. It has been a blessing,” she said. Neetu is relieved as well. “Now it doesn’t matter the time of the day! I can go whenever I want,” the young girl said.