The women of modern India are doing everything impossible in almost every field. For years, they have been told to quit jobs and do household chores. This is largely because of the societal pressure. But not anymore. A woman of today can stand for herself, and earn a living.
The story of Sunita Devi from Latehar, Jharkhand, is one shinning example for many such women. She has constructed over 475 toilets to free rural Jharkhand of open defecation. Not only this, she has trained over 300 rani mistris to construct more than 1,500 toilets.
Understanding the urgent need to have toilets, she volunteered herself for the training program under the Swachh Bharat mission. During the course, she learned all the technical aspects of constructing a twin-pit toilet.
Motivated to make a change, soon after her training, Sunita started constructing toilets in marginalized areas where people could not afford to construct a toilet.
Moreover, she is now teaching the male masons (mistri) on how to use a twin-pit technology. To bring more awareness, she has even formed a women’s discussion group where she discusses issues such as cleanliness, open defecation, alcoholism, child marriage, and women’s safety.
Sunita believes that her work has got her immense respect from villagers.
“People have now started to respect and appreciate my work. I feel I have lived up to the expectation of my family and everyone. There has also been a change in the mindset of families, as some are now allowing female members to work as masons. Today, every house in my village has a toilet.”
Sunita goes from door-to-door to get more women into her projects and in return, women are able to earn, too. Her mission is to make her village, Udaypura, free of open defecation. For that, she emphasises that a change in people’s attitude and behavior is equally important.
Being a flag-bearer of change, Sunita will be awarded Nari Shakti Puraskar 2018 by President Ram Nath Kovind on on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2019). She will also receive Rs 1 lakh cash award for empowering 300 women as rani mistris.