Bihar schoolgirls forswear jewellery for toilets

BUXAR (BIHAR): Several Class 10 girls of a school in Bihar have forsworn gold jewellery until their parents build toilets in their homes to save them the shame of having to go out into the open to defecate.

Buxar (Bihar), October 2

Several Class 10 girls of a school in Bihar have forsworn gold jewellery until their parents build toilets in their homes to save them the shame of having to go out into the open to defecate.

To pressure their parents to construct toilets to safeguard their hygiene, security and saving themselves from constant shame, Richa, Joyti, Ranju, Rabina, Khushbu and Puja Kumari decided to wear their gold lockets only when they will not be forced to defecate in the open.

They are six of 18 Class 10 students in a government girl high school in Bihar’s Buxar district, about 125 km from Patna, who are still asked to defecate in the open as their houses lack toilets, a district official said.

“During an inspection of school by a district administration official, Anupam Singh, the girls were asked if they did not have toilet in their homes and 18 of them raised their hands. The girls also said they wanted toilets to be built so that they didn’t have to defecate outside and expressed their shame and agony. They removed their gold lockets and handed them over to Singh and took an oath not to wear them unless their demands were met,” another official said.

“I was both happy and upset over their determination for a toilet as these girls are fully aware of the necessity of a toilet while they have been living without a basic need like that so far,” Singh said. Interestingly, the girls revealed that their parents are neither poverty stricken nor facing any financial crunch but pointed out that the construction of a toilet never figured in their agenda.

Class 10 student Khushbu said her parents were ignoring her repeated appeals for building a toilet at home.

It’s the same state where Shanti Devi, a poverty-stricken woman in her early 40s, chose to sell her four goats to finance the construction of a toilet at her house. A resident of Khaira Bhutha village in Rohtas district, she considers it shameful for to defecate in the open. 

Shanti had kept the four goats to raise money for the medical treatment of her paralysed husband, who has been bed-ridden for over one-and-a-half-years.

Phulkumari Devi, in her mid-20s, a resident of Barahkhanna village in Rohtas, mortgaged her gold and silver jewellery to raise money for the construction of a toilet at her house. — IANS

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