The Lady Who Builts Numerous Toilets In UP Villages!
Kalavati Devi, the lady mason, constructed 4000+ toilets in UP villages and slums, in and around Kanpur. In the last five years, she dedicated herself to this work. The slum in Kanpur, Raja Ka Purwa, had no single toilet for seven hundred families residing there. People were compelled to go out in the open creating a mess everywhere.
Kalavati Devi, 57, who was a resident of this slum, says, “If someone wanted to paint a picture of hell, the earlier condition of our slum in Kanpur would have perfectly fit the description”. Kalavati, who is a mason by profession, decided to change these unhygienic conditions herself and started building toilets.
Kalavati came to Kanpur when she was thirteen years old. Married to an eighteen-year-old boy, Jairaj, she dedicated her life for the family and raising her children. But due to a financial crisis, she was forced to work as a daily-wages laborer and took up mason tools in her hands. Kalavati felt disgusted when she saw the conditions around and decided to build a community toilet in the slums.
She shares, “You would find someone sick in each family almost always”. Contagious diseases were common and children had poor growth and were often born with a disability. These led to severe medical expenses for all daily-wages earning families. She went door to door to explain the importance of toilet and encouraged people to have one in their homes.
Determined in her actions, Kalavati says, “I do whatever is possible and I will keep doing it. After all, only a torch can light another torch”. For her contribution to society, she was recognized as a true hero by Neurobion Forte.
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