While most 11-year-olds spend their pocket money on toys, apps, or junk food, Monidrita Chatterjee has found quite a novel use for her money. From the last few years, this 11-year-old from Jamshedpur saved all her pocket money just so she could build a toilet for underprivileged girls in Jharkhand’s Kendradhi village.
I found out that many girls in India on daily basis are leaving their studies as they don’t have toilets in schools. That’s when I decided, I will help them out. I started saving my pocket money so as I can give people their most basic right – a toilet, said Monidrita.
Monidrita’s ‘swachh’ crusade began in 2014, when she heard a speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s on the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
According to government reports, only 23% households in Jharkhand used toilets, making it the worst performing state under the Swacch Bharat Mission. The state has seen a mere increase of only two per cent over the past 15 years. Seeing these dismal statistics, Mondrita decided to take on her ‘Swachh Mission.’
I saved a sum of Rs 24,000 in little over a years’ time and built a toilet for people in the village. Until now they use to defecate in open, she said.
Thanks to Mondrita’s swachh efforts, now Kendradhi village has two toilets benefitting about 350 people.
Monidrita’s mission didn’t end there. Her eventual aim is to make her entire state open defecation free.
When I saw people of that village are using toilets made by me, I got motivated. I wanted to build more toilets and help more people. I was looking for opportunities and one fine day I got one. There is an ashram in Haludbani in Jamshedpur which is run by the young boys – they train young children for free by giving them dance/music/sports classes. They approached me and asked me to build a toilet there as well because they never had one. That’s how I got started with my second project, said Mondrita.
Until now Mondrita has collected a sum of Rs 5,000 and plans to collect about Rs 10-12,000 to build a toilet in Haldubani as soon as possible.
After making toilets in Kendradhi village, many people started supporting me for this swachh cause. Recently someone from Kerala has sent me a money draft and gave me a title of ‘young sanitation champion.’ This is really motivating, I hope what I am doing soon becomes like a movement. I wish to fulfill Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of Clean and Swachh India, concludes Mondrita.
Mondrita Chatterjee has been felicitated by the state government and has also received ‘Sanitation Champion’ certificate for her contribution to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan campaign.
The District Commissioner of Jamshedpur, Amit Kumar plans to make Monidrita the brand ambassador of theSwachh Bharat campaign in their area.
Monidrita’s passion and dedication belies the fact that she is just 11-years-old. She has already sparked a mini-revolution that shows no signs of slowing down. “Come next week, I will start going out to all the major picnic spots near my area, and guide and stop people from littering,” she said.
Monidrita’s story just shows that one is never too young to bring about change, and every single citizen of India can become a Swachh warrior.