65 year old Jeeja Borade who lives in in Sathewadi; a locality in Thane, Maharashtra met with an accident six years ago. She had to get a rod fitted into her shoulder and her right leg, which restricted her mobility. Gradually Jeeja started walking with the help of a walker but was unable to use the old toilets. She was completely dependent on her family and was given a chair that helped her defecate into a plastic bag. This embarrassed her to no end and left her helpless.

Many other families in Sathewadi did not have access to safe and clean sanitation. To address the issue Habitat India joined hands with the Thane Municipal Corporation to build a community sanitation complex with improved sanitation facilities in the vicinity. The project has been partly funded by SBI Capital. The complex will positively impact 500 individuals by creating access to 11 toilets for men, 6 toilets for women, 2 toilets for children and 2 for differently abled individuals.

As Jeeja and her family live in this area, she received some respite after the toilets were built. The toilets built for the differently abled have proved to be a boon for her. Now she doesn’t use the chair. She says

“The previous sanitation facility was very unhygienic. With this new facility, I use the toilet on my own. Now it’s our responsibility to continue to maintain this facility for our benefit. A clean society cannot be achieved unless everyone takes the responsibility to do their bit.”

 

Thane, now a part of Government of India’s Smart Cities Mission, needs many such interventions to become Open Defecation Free. To achieve this, Habitat for Humanity India aims to build 9 more sanitation complexes.