Changing Lives One Toilet at a Time

Indian woman holding microphone

Seema Devi moved to her new husband's village when she was married, as a teenager. One of the biggest differences in her new village was that she no longer had a toilet in her home. Growing up with a toilet was something she took for granted, never thinking twice about it. In her new home, Seema had to practice open defecation like the rest of her neighbors.

After tripping and falling one night, she resolved to get a bathroom in her home. This turned out to be no easy task. "My repeated demands failed to convince my husband to construct a toilet," Seema recounts. Taking matters into her own hands, Seema got a job at a local women's empowerment organization. "The first thing I did with the money I earned was construct a toilet in the house," she says.

Soon, Seema discovered she wasn’t the only one interested in improving the health of her community.

One day, she attended a play hosted by Water For People that sought to educate the community about the dangers of open defecation and the importance of safe sanitation.

Seema became part of the local sanitation education programming as a motivator, someone who encouraged her fellow villagers to construct toilets.

"I accepted this responsibility primarily because my village is known for lagging behind in sanitation," she explains.

Seema's determination is paying off. Looking beyond her yard to her neighbors' homes are dozens of toilets in varying stages of construction. By improving the health and safety of the community, Seema knows toilets change everything.