The joy of owning a small house of her own was short-lived for Paramjeet Kaur when she discovered that her house had no toilet. Paramjeet experience unimagined embarrassment and great discomfort in having to travel long distances to defecate. Her children began to fall sick quite often due to open defecation adding to the strain on house finances. However, Paramjeet’s struggles soon came to an end when Bharti Foundation constructed an individual toilet in her house. This positive change transformed her life completely. With more time at her hands, Paramjeet started working part-time at a factory to add to the family income. Today, she is happy to contribute to the family income.
Paramjeet is one among 1,75000 beneficiaries of Bharti Foundation’s Satya Bharti Abhiyan program. Launched in year 2014, the program has completed 5 years is of the most successful sanitation initiative by Bharti foundation delivering a dignified sense of identity and healthy way of living for the locals in Punjab.
Under Satya Bharti Abhiyan, approx. 23,400 toilets have been constructed and handed over free-of-cost to individual households across 1230 villages and 11 urban local bodies in Ludhiana and rural Amritsar District benefitting over 1,00,000 beneficiaries. In particular, women and children have benefited from the program as they are no longer forced to relieve themselves in the open.
In addition to rural household sanitation, separate toilets for girls have also been constructed by Bharti Foundation in 14 Government schools in rural Ludhiana. The program currently benefits over 1,75,000 individuals across the two Districts and in less than two years enabled Ludhiana District (Rural) to achieve self-declared Open Defecation Free status.
Recently, the Foundation responded to a request from Ludhiana Police Commissionerate, and constructed 37 separate ladies’ toilets in police stations, posts and offices that did not have a separate toilet for women
Ms. Mamta Saikia, CEO, Bharti Foundation said “We are proud to have contributed in our way to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission and improving the quality of life of our fellow citizens. However, the biggest driver of this successful intervention has been the participation of the local communities in helping spread the message of sanitation. The achievement of Satya Bharti Abhiyan have today set a shining example for others to follow and I thank the State Government and the local administration for their valuable support and encouragement.”
Apart from providing sanitation facilities, the Foundation is also focused on bringing about behavioral change through various ongoing sanitation campaigns across states in India. Through these awareness campaigns, students of Satya Bharti Schools have inspired their parents to build more than 3500 toilets at home, and have worked as agents of change to bring awareness amongst the communities they live in. Last October the Foundation mobilized more than 1,00,000 students, teachers and local community members, to take the “Cleanliness Pledge” across 11 states of India