New Delhi: Jabbar Shah’s struggle for survival begins every morning and ends every night with paltry earnings of Rs 100 to Rs 150. Living in a kachcha house in Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh, his household of six members – his daughter, her husband and three grandchildren have only known a life of poverty, where even basics are beyond their means. And toilet a luxury they can ill-afford.
When I used to see my daughter and family going out of the home to defecate in the jungle, I felt like I am losing a battle with life. We couldn’t afford a toilet at home and I used to feel very helpless about the fact that my family has no option but to answer nature’s call by going out in the fields, says Jabbar Shah.
Sitapur: Man sold 7 goats to build a toilet at his residence, says 'women of the house were forced to defecate in the jungle. This was problematic for them and so I sold 7 goats worth Rs. 15,000 to build a toilet. There has been no help from the govt.' pic.twitter.com/K5k9EJPldU
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But that desire for privacy and dignity was strong enough for Jabbar to make a sincere effort to try and get a toilet built.
We went to the government, but no one gave us money to build a toilet. That’s when I decided; I will not lose hope and will construct a toilet howsoever.
The desire for a luxury like a toilet at home, slowly transformed into the determination to protect his family from the daily ignominy. Jabbar then decided to take a drastic step to sell his only prized possessions and source of livelihood.
To put an end to my family’s worries, I decided to sell my 7 goats for Rs. 15,000 and construct a toilet at home.
Jabbar’s sacrifice has not gone unnoticed. Tulsi Ram, District Public Relation Officer from Sitapur said, “Jabbar’s story is an inspiration for everyone out there – not many people do what he has done – building a toilet by selling goats for the safety of female members of his family. This is a matter of immense pride for all of us. We will make sure he gets the reimbursed money spent on construction of toilet on priority.”
In Sitapur, for now, the work of toilet construction is going slow. Recently, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also asked the district magistrate to speed up the toilet construction work and help meet the open defecation free target within timelines. He asked the swachh officials to review the progress of toilet construction work in their respective districts every day for half an hour and further said that the Chief Secretary will review the progress of their work in every district once a week.