“If someone wanted to paint a picture of hell, the earlier condition of our slum in Kanpur would have perfectly fit the description,” exclaims Kalavati Devi, a 57-year-old resident of the place. She took it solely upon herself to transform the inhuman living conditions in the area, plagued by the menace of open defecation. A mason by profession, the widowed mother of two have constructed over 4000 toilets in UP villages in and around Kanpur, in the last five years. Disgusted by the filth all around, Kalavati resolved to build a community toilet in Raja Ka Purwa slums. With unwavering support from her husband, she approached a local rural-based NGO to help her install the same. Challenges were aplenty, especially, raising awareness among the community was a daunting task. Yet, the feisty lady did not flinch an inch from her determination.
Kalavati was no one to step aside. She went door to door, explaining how a toilet is indispensable and pleaded with everyone to install the same in their homes. She organised meetings in the villages, spreading the message far and wide. Even after people changed their age-old stand on open defecation, most were unwilling to contribute any money or donate a small plot of land for toilet construction, primarily fearing the credibility. Many also doubted the authenticity of the supporting NGO. Day after day, Kalavati Devi continued her convincing efforts, until everyone came around. The success of her first campaign only propelled the sanitation movement across the remote villages. Today, her perseverance shines brightly through the thousands of lives she has impacted.
The Logical Indian salutes the indomitable spirit of Kalavati Devi and applauds Neurobion Forte for standing beside such unsung heroes of India.
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