Parvin and her family did not own a latrine. To them, this most natural daily routine was a shameful experience, and particularly difficult for Parvin because she had three daughters and a son.
A shameful experience
“We used our neighbour’s latrine during the day” explains Parvin, “but at night it was unpleasant to knock at anyone’s door.”
When her children were young, she accompanied them because they were afraid of the dark. As they grew up, she accompanied them, especially her daughters, because she was afraid for their safety.
To make matter even worse for Parvin’s family, they did not have their own water source.
“We were ridiculed and criticised openly by our neighbors for relying on their tubewell and latrine,” recalls Parvin, “and while it hurt to carry 5-7 buckets of water every day, it was more humiliating to return with an empty bucket.”
Parvin was enrolled in the Ultra-Poor Graduation programme in 2008. The support of the programme enabled her to generate a steady income from her assets. With better knowledge on various health issues, Parvin embarked on her new mission to provide her family with the sanitation and utilities they deserved.
Parvin used her savings to construct a tubewell in her yard, and a two slab, tin roofed, brick walled, hygienic latrine. Not only does it make nights a lot easier, but the family’s medical bills have dramatically decreased because they no longer suffer from recurrent illnesses like diarrhea.
She also noticed how her social status has improved, “Even the local Union Parishad member came to visit my house and praised my initiative” her voice tinged with pride.
A healthy household
Parvin’s fear of nights have transformed into a new reality today. “Now people come to use our tubewell, and I let them know that they are always welcome”.
In the country where 60% of the population still drinks unsafe water, and 20% still uses shared latrines, initiatives like Parvin’s make us believe that people conquering poverty are often the most dignified human beings in the world.