Today is World Toilet Day
Sometime in the 1960s.
We lived in Mumbai. Each summer, my Grandmother made a trip to South India to visit her daughters (my aunts), and the family deity. When she took me along for the first time, I was around 7 years old. I was excited at the thought of seeing my aunt and cousins.
We arrived in Pudukkottai, our native place, to a warm welcome from my aunt’s family. Her mother in law, may her soul rest in peace, is one of the most generous people ever. She smothered us with love, food and all the little things that make that extra difference. She had cooked all our favorite dishes and amid lots of fun and laughter, the time came for us to wash off the fatigue from our journey. Those days, train travel from Mumbai to Pudukkottai was long and tiring.
As we got ready to take turns to bathe in the makeshift shack with a big drum of water and a bar of soap, I wanted to …um….shit. I told my Mom who told my aunt…who gave me a metal pot of water and showed me the fields at the back of the house. I was free to squat where I wanted.
I was first shocked, then scared, then curious. My aunt explained that most houses did not have a toilet. Why? They didn’t need one!
Fast forward to 1973
We had just moved to another city and we occupied a house for a few months to be near my uncle’s office. Our toilet was a little room with two stone slabs where we squatted. It’s not imaginable before seeing it, being used to brands like Toiletable, the luxury of comfort and cleanliness, I was not ready!. Then, we manually flushed it with mugs of water. Or waited for the cleaner who washed all the toilets in the area every morning.
My aunt’s family visited us in Chennai. The next morning, my uncle wanted to know where the nearest field was. He just refused to use the toilet in our house. Why? Not used to it.
Thousands of villages in India still do not have a toilet. Even those who live in the city often have to share a public toilet with others in the area. In addition, we deal with severe water problems even in the city.
Can you even imagine the repercussions of this?
Sadly, more people own a mobile phone than have access to a toilet!
Did you know that toilets and sanitation are considered a human right?
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Today is World Toilet Day.
The theme for this year is “Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation”
The tagline is WeCantWait
The idea is to focus on the threat of sexual violence that women and girls face due to the loss of privacy as well as the inequalities that are present in usability. The goal is to end open defecation, especially for the women and girls who are particularly vulnerable.
Toilets generally remain inadequate for populations with special needs, such as the disabled and elderly, and women and girls requiring facilities to manage menstrual hygiene.
Here are some scary facts:
- Worldwide, 2.5 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, including toilets or latrines, with dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development.
- In India, open defecation is a major sanitation crisis. Around 597 million people defecate in the open. This increases the risk of microbial contamination of water(bacteria, viruses, amoeba) resulting in diseases like diarrhea.
- India has the highest numbers of under-five deaths globally. 20% of deaths among children under-14 are due to diseases caused by poor sanitation and hygiene.
- 7 states in India (Orissa, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) account for almost 50% (13.8 million) children without access to toilet facilities in schools.
- Only 6 per cent of rural children less than five years of age use toilets.
- Diarrhoea and worm are two major health conditions that affect school age children impacting their education. Almost 28 million school children across India have no access to school toilet facilities and 443 million school days are lost every year due lack of access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
- The health impact of lack of sanitation is far-reaching. Kids like Babli have no choice but to defecate in the open exposing them to dangerous bacterial and viral infections.
#ToiletForBabli Initiative by Domex
Domex has partnered with the UNICEF to take up the cause against open defecation. Their goal is to make villages in Maharashtra and Orissa open defecation free zones.
You can help!
On World Toilet Day, you can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids who are in search of hope, hygiene and health by showing your support for the Domex Initiative.
A click for a cleaner & safer India
Just “click” on the “Contribute Tab” on www.domex.in and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.
I urge you to visit their website and support this noble cause. Click the image below to go there.
Is it possible to save lives, one toilet at a time?
If you #giveashit, please click to tweet this message:
[Tweet ” Yes! I #giveashit and support #ToiletForBabli @WorldToiletDay @DomexIndia @UN_Water”]
About The Domex Toilet Academy
Domex, HUL’s flagship sanitation brand, currently runs the Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) programme. Domex Toilet Academy was launched on 19th November 2013. It aims to become a sustainable and long-term solution to provide sanitation that benefits the local community and helps stimulate the local economy. The Toilet Academy makes toilets accessible and affordable, while promoting the benefits of clean toilets & good hygiene. Our effort has resulted in bringing the change in the villages of Maharashtra and Orissa and we aim to build 24000 toilets by 2015 in rural areas faced with the problem of open defecation.
Today is also World Day For Prevention of Abuse and Violence Against Children. Can you see the connection between World Toilet Day and Child Sexual Abuse? The lack of access to a private toilet is one of the prime reasons for sexual abuse in children and women. I wish we could stop that!
I have heard of the problems India faces with this issue but I did not realize how many millions must do this out in the open. Actually this is one of my recurring nightmares-having to use the washroom in front of strangers. It’s sad that, here, people consider a small home having only one washroom. I have seen stupid shows where people are upset that there are only 2 washrooms in the home they wish to buy. These people have no idea and I feel bad for the young children, women and everyone who do not have the proper facilities. I am going now to that website
Birgit recently posted…White means purity….I was this once
Dear Birgit – thank you for your compassion! Thing is, most people go by what they are used to or have grown up with.
I laugh to think that I’ve done it out in the open too as a small kid when we visited relatives in the villages. Seemed like fun, then.
Thank you for visiting that website. I think Domex (aka Domestos) is doing a great service!
Hugs to you!
Vidya Sury recently posted…Kindness. Always Possible!