A year ago, the field team of Satya Bharti Abhiyan met with a grim-faced but dignified Satnam Singh, during their door-to-door survey to identify homes without toilets in the villages of Ludhiana.
Despite the fact that Satnam suffers from severe mobility impairment, his eyes shine with fierce pride. He has no family and he in lives all by himself a rickety old house on the outskirts of his village. Yet, it is not helplessness that one notices in Satnam’s personage, it is his sense of dignity that is most arresting. A flowing white beard partially conceals the deep lines that hardships have etched on his face. Satnam Singh is definitely not your average senior citizen.
A year ago, Satnam Singh’s simple home did not have a toilet. With little mobility and scarce financial resources, Satnam struggled to carry out his daily ablutions. All this changed when he was provided with a toilet by Bharti Foundation under Satya Bharti Abhiyan. The toilet provided marked an end to the daily humiliation that this proud man faced, with neighbors fighting with him or shooing him off when they caught him defecating in their fields. Now, he does not have to travel long miles at odd hours to defecate in the open. This daily arduous journey for a man with disabilities is now in the past. On being questioned, whether the provision of a toilet has impacted his life, his fiery eyes soften and he says, “Bharti Foundation has changed my life by providing this toilet. No one likes their sense of pride being questioned, with this toilet I feel that I have regained my dignity”.