This 16 Year Old Girl Is On A Mission To Change The Face Of Sanitation In Her Community
Which field of study excites you? What are you going to do after your senior secondary exams? That’s what people ask us at the age of 16. And, we ourselves have not thought beyond such limited horizons. But there are some people who do.
Meet Rohini Karale, a 16 yr old resident of Nandgaon, a small village near Karjat in Maharashtra. Her village had a 100 houses and no toilet. Her sole purpose was to transform her village into an open defecation free village.
A young, social crusader, Rohini is making a difference in the lives of several girls in Nandgaon village. She believes that the biggest problem in small villages is to make people understand the need to maintain proper hygiene and counteract their logic behind open defecation.
When Rohini started menstruating, she found it very difficult and awkward to cope up with the situation in a village with no toilets. She had to wait for the sun to go down on normal days but it was more difficult during periods when one needs extra care and hygiene.
Frustrated by all such problems Rohini requested her grandfather to construct a toilet in her house. Earlier, his father didn’t understand the urge of setting up a toilet but later he understood and they made the first toilet of the village with the help of an NGO, Habitat for Humanity.
Not just this, she also asked her grandpa to take up the issue since he was the deputy sarpanch then. Her grandfather made the community realise the problems of the village women and that there is a great urgency of a toilet in every home.
In an interview to FirstPost, Rohini said, "I requested my grandfather to take up the issue in public since he was the Sarpanch at that point of time. Speaking about the issue in a public forum helped others to take cognizance of the problems faced by teenage girls and women in my village. With the help of Habitat for Humanity India, an NGO, we built a toilet in our house. Now, within a year of this initiative, at least 15 houses in the village have toilet facilities".
"When I was young I never hesitated much to defecate in the open. But, as I grew up to be a woman, things changed for me. I had to wait for sunset to relieve myself. It is difficult during menstruation because in those days we need to take extra care. But now a toilet facility inside my house has made a drastic change not just for me, but it is making other villagers realize the importance of hygiene and sanitation facilities," she further added. Rohini's mother said, "Around 30 per cent of the villagers now utilize toilet facilities in their own house rather than going to the mangroves."
Inspired by Rohini’s initiative, girls in the village are becoming more vocal about their sanitation needs. As of now, there are 15 families in the village with toilets and more are being constructed with the help of government schemes and NGOs. Around 30 percent of the villagers are now using toilet for defecation.