A Half-Constructed House But A Fully Functional Toilet: The Story of Toilet Champion of Chinnakampalli

The interesting thing, however, is Lakshmipathi lives with his family in a partially constructed house – but one that has a fully-functional toilet! This has made him a household name in the community – not only for his commitment to safe and dignified sanitation in his house, but also for working hard, day in and day out, to educate his children till graduation - and even beyond.

Strangely, as this was happening, Lakshmipathi realized for reasons unknown to him, his name was missing from the list of beneficiaries for toilet construction, and despite his best efforts, he was ignored during the process of construction of toilets. He confesses initially, he had never thought of constructing a household toilet since he was barely able to meet his children’s college fees, even though, ironically, his own grown-up daughter had asked him many a time to construct a household toilet seeing how difficult it was for her to walk long distances in search of privacy every time she had to relieve herself in the fields. He says the constant hand-to-mouth existence made it very difficult for him to heed her request, though he was fully aware of her predicament.

It was only when PSI India Sanitation Counselors met Lakshmipathi and his friends during a group session in the village that Lakshmipathi first realized how vital it was to have a safe and hygienic household toilet in his house. He says the PSI India Sanitation Counselor showed him videos on toilet construction and use, and he was struck by the message in the video – that if a father uses a toilet, then the children will also learn from him and follow his example, and a responsible father will always use a toilet.

Moved by the example in the video, Lakshmipathi realized while he was doing his best to be a responsible to his children, his had however failed them in one aspect – by not constructing a toilet at home. But to his credit, Lakshmipathi was torn between his modest means and the large number of priorities vying for his little savings, most importantly his incomplete house.

But he did understand the importance of having a toilet in the house for the family and the importance of setting a good example to his children by being a responsible father. He thus decided to give priority to toilet construction rather than wait to complete his house. Because of lack of funds, he decided to take a loan from a private lender in the village to construct the toilet as a priority.

He beams with satisfaction when people tell him not only is his family regularly using the toilet since the day it was constructed, but his example has made him immensely popular in the village. People tell him others in the village speak highly about his progressive attitude and want to emulate his example by making toilets at home also.

Lakshmipathi modestly credits his popularity to the effort of the PSI India Sanitation Counselors who gave him insights and knowledge about the significance of sanitation for every household and every person. He doesn’t stop here: he says the PSI India Sanitation Counselors taught him how to maintain and keep the toilet clean through the video. He says he is especially proud of the fact his “children use the toilet at home with dignity and do not waste time in open defecation; instead they now use their time productively in studies”.

Today, not only he, but even his family members help keep the toilet clean.

PSI India Sanitation Counselors today reach out to every household in our project villages to motivate them to not only construct household toilet but also to use them regularly.

In the three years of Project SAVERA in Chittoor district, PSI India endeavours to change the behavior of 2,00,000 households towards sanitation in 400 project villages in the district.

Lakshmipathi says people living in Chinnakampalli SC colony paid little
attention to issues like sanitation, and it was only under pressure
of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and the local administration
that the first toilet was constructed on April 18; soon, most
households had consented to construction of toilets

Each day, our team works tirelessly to add colors in the struggling lives of millions in need. With a steady resolve to bring quality life on the doorsteps of those who cannot afford it, we work on ground, sowing the seeds of opportunities in the homes of millions and ensuring that they grow and sustain into plants of peace and happiness and success stories.

You are the reason we continue and will continue to make a visible difference in the lives of many. Because you make us believe that helping hands are and always will be better than praying lips.

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