The accessibility to a toilet facility for Jagdish Bairwa’s family was a distant reality. The Bairwas live in a village named Dandela in the district of Tonk, Rajasthan. It was during a village meeting that Jagdish learned about the benefits of having an enclosed toilet within the household compound. Jagdish, a mason by profession, hoped that he too could get one built for his family, as he could no longer see his family suffer and be exposed to the unsafe and unhealthy conditions of open defecation. He was able to build a toilet for his family through Habitat for Humanity India.
Jagdish Bairwa is the father of two children: 25-year-old Rameshwar and 16-year-old Lalita. Rameshwar, Jagdish’s son, suffers from polio. At the age of 16, as a school-going boy in the eighth grade, his physical condition deteriorated. He grew accustomed to being dependent on others to take him to defecate in the open. Today, he uses the toilet built in the backyard of his house by Habitat for Humanity India. His physical challenges have rendered him unable to squat; so, he is glad to have a ‘sitting toilet’. The time he saves from going to the fields is utilized to help his father run their family shop, which sells groceries like sugar, candy, oil and stationery.
Jagdish’s wife, Gulab, likes the toilet because she does not have to go to the open fields to defecate. She says “using the new toilet came naturally.” Now that the toilet is in her backyard, she is happy that she does not have to waste time going to the toilet in the open fields and can use the extra time to do housework and look after her family. Jagdish’s daughter Lalita enjoys the time she saves. Previously, it took her about an hour to go and return from the fields, where she had to take time to find a suitable spot to relieve herself. She now finds it much easier to get ready to go to school, which is nearly 2 miles away. The family was also trained as part of Habitat’s Behaviour Change Communication on the proper way to use the toilet and how to keep it clean.