Helping Babli and Her Friends.
– In search of a better and healthy life for the kids and people in the underdeveloped villages.
The night was dark and thick. Wind ruffled the broken windows and trees with vengeance. Babli was afraid to wake up and search for a place to relieve herself, but her stomach had other opinions. She woke up with a tired sigh. This had become routine in her life. She had to search for an open place to go to the toilet, but then the place shouldn’t be too open as well.
She pulled out a lighter and a jug of water. She knocked at her mother’s door, once, twice. Her mother didn’t answer, though. Feeling extremely scared, she left the house to search for a place. Wind created weird whooshing noise. There were the chirping of night insects. Babli felt something crawling on her skin. Screaming in fear, she pushed something away from her hand. She wanted to run back to the safety of her rundown house, but her stomach pain made her took a step forward.
‘Please, please, don’t let it be any dangerous animals.’ She prayed as she sat down. The place was already muddy due to the previous day rain. She closed her eyes and continued praying the whole time. Her back was aching and the wind was cold and vengeful, making her shiver. When she was done with that, she stood up hurriedly and walked back to home.
The next day she woke up with infectious diarrhoea. Her intestines felt like they were curled together and her stomach was hurting so bad. Babli stepped outside to see the new meres forming in their old, spineless street. Her mother followed with an umbrella.
“Babli, let us go to the doctor.” They went to the doctor. The doctor gave her a prescription. But she became weaker and weaker as the days passed. The search for the place had also become her everyday activity. Her body had lost weight and her fingers turned feeble. She felt useless, either lying in the bed or searching a place to defecate. Pain had become her everyday companion. Tears, her only comfort.
“Will I die like Chintu?” Babli was afraid of the death and she kept asking the same question to her mother.
That night Babli woke up again. She was afraid of the dark; of snakes crawling around in the muddy field; of going to toilet. The public toilet in her village was dark, putrid and grubby. She had no other options than braving the snakes. She started to cry and thrash in her bed, praying for a way out of it.
“Thivya, Thivya. Baby, wake up.” Someone shook her. She screamed and stood up from her bed. “What is the matter?” Her mother asked.
“I- I want to go to toilet.”
“You can go to the toilet. Come.” Her mom walked her to their toilet. It was neat and was cleaned a moment ago. The bottle of Domex they used to clean stood on the side of the toilet. She kept staring at the toilet and with tears she rushed inside. When she came out, her brother was there, staring at Thivya with a weird look on her face.
“Did you have a bad dream, Thivi?”
“Yes bro. I dreamt of dark fields and villages without toilet. My name’s Babli and I have to walk in the muddy field to empty my stomach. A friend of mine was dead and I was dying. I am feeling bad for those children. Can you tell me more about Open defecation, bro?” Her brother nodded. They walked and sat in front of his laptop. He typed the word and there came a lot of search result.
“Globally, India has the highest number of people who practices Open Defecation. About 597 million.”
“Why is that, Bro?”
“That’s due to several reasons. Most of the public toilet lacks sanitation and hygiene. You can’t even enter them, because they’re smelly and gross and are infected with not only invisible bacteria and viruses, but also with visible insects like spiders, worms, termites, bugs etc. That’s why most of the people go for open space. Another reason is the non-existent toilets. Or sometimes, fear of using the toilet because of the fear of abuse. Women often feel unprotected in the toilets, because they are not safe and are usually located faraway.”
“Does this affect their health?” She looked worried.
“Of course. It can cause lots of diseases like diarrhoea, intestinal worm infections, and also sometimes Cholera, typhoid, polio, trachoma, viral fevers etc. Also because of the lack of sanitation, the children growing in such places suffer from Malnutrition and have weak immune system. They can easily catch the viral infections because they are not strong enough. They are very unfortunate. 20% of deaths amongst children under 14 years of age are due to sicknesses caused by deprived sanitation.”
“Can we help them?”
“The only solution is to build more toilets on those places and keeping them clean and safe.”
“Can we start a campaign for that, bro?”
“Thivya has grown up. Having a nightmare is great, as well.” Her brother smiled.
“Then, let us help Babli and her friends, bro. Help them to find a hygienic life and a safe toilet.”
They spent that Saturday and Sunday making posters to help the village people find their life back, free of dirty, polluted streets and smelly, infected toilets and went to www.domex.com to contribute their share of help.
You can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is “click” on the “Contribute Tab” on www.domex.in and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.