Meet Rohini Karale, the 16-year-old who's making her village go open defecation-free

What was on your bucket list when you were 16? It's likely that it never included making your locality open defecation-free.

Meet Rohini Karale, a resident of Nandgaon, which had over 100 houses and zero toilets, until she decided to change this statistic. All she wanted to do was to get her village to be open defecation-free.

Rohini is just 16 and like other girls in the village, she found it cumbersome and awkward when she began menstruating in a village with no toilets. To venture out at five in the morning or after 8 pm, so nobody could see her, was too risky and impractical. Rohini requested her grandfather to take up the issue since he was the deputy sarpanch at that point of time.

‘When the family elders realised the problem I faced during my periods, it was my Grandpa who decided to help. My father thought we didn’t really needed a toilet, but it was my Grandpa who made the community realise what the village women were going through.”  Rohini says that girls in the village are now becoming more vocal about their sanitation needs.

Thanks to Rohini's initiative, many toilets are being constructed in Nandgaon now with the help of government schemes and NGO's like 'Habitat for Humanity'.

Meanwhile, Rajan Samuel, managing director, Habitat for Humanity India told Firstpost, "Our vision is to build a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Building homes, sanitation units and providing long term shelter solution for families affected by disasters are the core areas of our work. Habitat India has the capacity and expertise to scale up its operations in housing and sanitation. But one of the key challenges in promoting interventional sanitation is Behaviour Change Communication. If we need to build a Swachh Bharat, we need to constantly work with the community to change their mind set and attitudes by way of Behaviour Change Communication."

"Children act as change agents. When you work with children, they tend to impact their peers, their family and the communities. Rohini is a perfect example of children serving as change agents who can bring about a change and advocate for villages free from open defecation," he added.

Updated Date: Jan 30, 2017 10:58:47 IST