A Toilet for Anita

Anita and her husband live in Bihar, India with their three children and two elderly parents. For the last eight years, the family has been using a vacant government lot for defecation. They faced multiple issues getting to and from the lot, particularly when carrying small children during monsoons and times of illness.

Anita’s husband is the sole earning member of the family, earning seven rupees (US$0.11) per day as a day laborer. He lacked the time and money for constructing a toilet. The family dealt with challenges like high medical expenses from communicable diseases during the monsoons and the constant shame of defecating in the open.

Anita and her family were struggling with these issues until Water.org’s partner, MHT, visited Anita’s community and provided an option that would change things. MHT invited 25-30 women to attend an orientation meeting to share the plans to provide infrastructure for water, toilet, electricity, drainage and dustbins. The women all expressed great interest in constructing toilets for their households but finances were an issue.

Their concerns were eliminated when MHT shared a loan plan providing affordable, low-interest loans to pay for the construction. Joint-liability groups were formed, providing each of the six members of the group a loan to cover their own toilet construction costs. Anita, along with the other group members, was able to construct a toilet with the loan, ultimately ridding her family of the shame, illness and insecurities they used to face due to open defecation.

Anita said, “We would not have been able to construct a toilet in our house without the help of MHT and Water.org. The best part of the program is that the interest rate is very low and we can pay the loan back in small installments and that seems easy and affordable for us. We are very happy to be associated with MHT and to have an in-house toilet, as we do not have to go to the open grounds for defecation and face the filth, smell and shame every day.”

This success story was made possible by a generous grant from the Caterpillar Foundation.

Capital: New Delhi
Population of 1.2 billion
77 million lack access to safe water
769 million lack access to improved sanitation
59% of the total population lives on less than US$2 per day