Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Not in the open

“If you would have delayed bringing her here, she may not have survived,” saying so, the doctor walked out of the room towards the waiting area. Babli still lay unconscious and severely dehydrated – lips parched, eyes sunken and breathing rapid. The drops of the IV fluid slowly merged into her bloodstream, each drop slowly adding a little more life to her petite body. 

In the hustle and bustle of the town hospital, Babli’s mother – seated on a wooden bench in the waiting area – wiped her tears with the corner of her saree. As Babli’s father and the doctor walked towards her, she stood up – eager to hear that her precious one had survived the severe bout of diarrhoea. 

They had travelled miles from their village to reach this hospital, for the treatment of their only 5-year-old daughter. After exchanging a few questions with them, what the doctor related about her condition came as a shock to Babli’s parents.

‘Your daughter has just survived a severe infection. But do you know this could have been prevented? If only she would have used a toilet instead of defecating in the open.’

‘But everyone does it in the open in our village’, said Babli’s father. 

‘What everyone does may not always be right Ramu. Passing stools in the open contaminates the soil and the water with germs. Kids, when exposed to this, can easily catch infections as well end up with worms in their tummy.’

‘Oh no! I wish we knew this earlier.’

‘Not only that, poor hygiene is one of the leading cause of deaths amongst children. And if you think of it this way – it is an avoidable cause. Can’t we do even this much for our precious ones? Give them better toilet facilities in schools & at home, teach them to wash hands properly after defecating, wash hands before & after eating and keep the surroundings clean.’ 

Ramu stood with his head low as he began to say, ‘Doctor, I cannot thank you enough for saving my daughter’s life. And I make a promise to you and to her today. The promise of better sanitation for my daughter, my whole family and my village too. No child in my village shall die for lack of hygienic toilet facility. I shall speak to my uncle in the Gram Panchayat and take this initiative ahead for the benefit of my entire village.’ 

‘Sure Ramu. In fact, HUL’s flagship sanitation brand ‘Domex’ currently runs the Domex Toilet Academy (DTA) programme for the same reason. They make toilets accessible and affordable for a number of villages. They also help us educate everyone about the benefits of clean toilets and good hygiene. What’s more, they are working hard to build 24,000 toilets in rural areas of India by 2015.
Babli’s mother too added with a sparkle, ‘I will discuss this with all the women of our village and we will pass this knowledge about hygiene to our kids. The school teacher is our friend and she will help us too.’

‘Well done Ramu and Rajjo. I will be proud of you if you can do this. And as far as Babli is concerned, she will be bubbling with joy once again, very soon.’

You too can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is ‘click’ on the ‘Contribute Tab’ on this page and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.

This is my submission for an Indiblogger Campaign #ToiletForBabli

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