Monday, November 17, 2014

Lack of toilets : A question of a girl child's hygiene, safety and dignity !


How many of you knew that more than a whopping 50% of Indians lack access to toilets and 600 million people in India openly defecate ? This is the state of most of the rural areas in India.
With over 600 million people in India or 55 per cent of Indian households defecating in the open, absence of toilets is one of the important contributors to malnutrition , causing various deadly diseases subjected to both children and adults.
We need toilets, but most importantly we need toilet importance education !
How many more helpless women will give up schooling and fall sick ?


A few years back during the summer vacation I was on my way to my way to my native, and on the journey was were I witnessed hundreds of people defecating in the open from behind the window of my slow moving train. Now how many of you have experienced train mid stops in some unknown remote village areas , you have no idea which place you are but there are children of different age running half naked with their dirty jugs filled with water to defecate . And No I am not guessing here, I have seen it with my own eyes ! & years back when I was in my native for a marriage I had to visit this village which was far across the fields and on my way I saw many women with ghoongat carrying lotas ( steel tumblers) filled with water heading towards empty farway fields and lands. At first I felt angry on the village men to not have seen through the basic needs of a woman, but as I spent time I learnt that a large number of people defecate in the open because they could not afford to build a toilet from their own resources.
But is sympathy all we have to give to those who don’t even have toilets (The most , YES I repeat the most basic need of a woman, man and a child!) at their homes . I even happened to read that many girl children dropped out of public schools because they did not have toilet facilities and they did not feel safe to go out in the open. It was proved true when two of the girls I met in my native complained that  men used to peep on them when they went out during schooling and hence their parents cut them of from studying and attending school after such incidents!
India might be high on population but that doesn’t mean we can’t work a little harder to make sure every child out there is protected from diseases spread by urinating in the open or the problems faced by a girl child every time she feels the need to go to the bathroom and ends up shivering in a field with no one to watch over when she sits there,not feeling safe out in the open. It is a basic necessity which we can no longer afford to ignore if we want to have a safer healthier and productive childhood and life.

How it effects the Children

source: The Hindu
Poor sanitation and open defecation remains a major public health concern linked to several important health outcomes; emerging evidence indicates a link to childhood stunting. In India over half of the population defecates in the open; the prevalence of stunting remains very high.
A girl child faces the most number of problems when there is lack of toilet facilities. She has to take an elderly along with her if she wants to defecate and if not she has to drop out from school and the worst are the hygienic effects defecation strikes on young minds!
  • We all know its not possible to keep human faeces from crops in fields, bore wells, food and children’s hands both in urban and rural areas of India ! Defecation and urinating in the open leads to vector borne diseases like malaria and diarrhea.
  • Also study has proved that children exposed to defecation  grow as tall as other children with less exposure to the fecal germs borne by defecation.

How it effects the Women:

No toilets = No privacy= No safety = No hygiene
No safety : he costs are high. Public safety is one underappreciated problem, as young women have to leave their rural homes after dark. In May two teenage girls in Uttar Pradesh visiting a field used as a communal toilet were raped, murdered and strung up from a tree.
No privacy : Always having to move in pairs to not become a prey leaves you no privacy !
No sanity : A broader matter is public health. Open defecation is disastrous when practised by groups in close contact with each other.
November 19th is World Toilet Day , lets join hands and give two minutes of our lives to make sure the children and women out there are and healthy. 
You 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 and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.
Do contribute for this good cause. :)


  1. Najm This is sad to hear so many people are without the basic need of a wash room. Very heart breaking...:-(

    1. I agree :( Hopefully this initiative does some help to those suffering ...

  2. Indeed a very true one Najm, a very serious and an issue which demands immediate action. It is very unfair that people and leaders talk about dignity of women and what not while we still struggle on something very basic like this. I really hope there is some immediate change in this direction..

  3. Great post! Thanks for sharing.
    Have a nice day!
    Photographer Gil Zetbase