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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Mascot, Chhattisgarh’s Kunwar Bai Dies At 106

Kunwar Bai sold off her only assets, 8-10 goats, to raise money to build toilets at home

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Highlights
  • Kunwar Bai was way over 100 years old when she first heard about toilets
  • She not only built toilet at home, but also inspired her village to go ODF
  • She was felicitated by PM Modi for her efforts to make her village ODF

New Delhi: The woman who became the face of Chhattisgarh’s open defecation free (ODF) movement is no more. Kunwar Bai died today. She was 106 years old. Imagine a life as long as a century and a bulk of it spent not knowing what a toilet is. Kunwar Bai of Chhattisgarh was nearly 102 when the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched in 2014. But age did not deter her to embrace change. Having defecated in the open all her life, she first heard about toilets from government officials who visited village to spread awareness. After listening to them Kunwar Bai sold off her 8-10 goats, her only assets, to raise money to build two toilets at her house in Kotabharri village located in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh. Subsequently she, along with her daughter, started showing these toilets to other villagers and educating them about its benefits and importance. Because of Kunwar Bai’s efforts, her village Kotabharri and Dhamtari became the first open defecation free district in the state in 2016.

She was felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016 for not just stopping open defecation with building toilet at her home, instead she went a step further to raise awareness among the villagers about the importance of using toilets. PM Modi even touched her feet to seek her blessings and addressed her as “Ma Kunwar Bai Yadav” while launching the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Rurban (rural-urban) Mission at Kurrubhat village in Chattisgarh’s naxal-hit Rajandgaon district.

This 105-year-old Woman Started A Toilet Revolution To End Open Defecation 2

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was so impressed by her grit that he bowed before her and touched her feet to express his appreciation for her work

Kunwar Bai, breathed her last at Raipur’s Ambedkar Hospital, where she was admitted on the directives of Chief Minister Raman Singh, after prolonged illness.

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