Mathuranthaganallur is a village situated near Keerapalayam in Cuddalore. It has a population of 3,500, most of whom work as agricultural labourers. In the village there is a school where 380 children go to study. When we first visited the school didn't have one functioning toilet. The children were struggling, especially the girls, as they had to leave school everytime they needed to go to the bathroom. This is not only precious time away from study but it is often a dangerous situation for children. It was many years ago, in 2005, when we constructed the first ever EcoSan school toilet block here in Mathuranthaganallur.
"Before The Cycle constructed a toilet in my community, my mother and I had to travel far in the dark to find a place to go to the toilet. It was often scary and dangerous because of the snakes and men would sometimes follow us. Now we have a toilet, we are so much safer, happier and healthier."
So, what’s this got to do with Ranjitha?! Now 20 years old Ranjitha was one of the children who attended the school. She didn't have a toilet at home either, so she and her mother had to venture out at night time to find a place to relieve themselves. From snakes to prying eyes, this was always her most feared time of the day. After we’d built the toilets at her school, Ranjitha was so happy over how safe she felt that she ran home and asked her parents to ask us to build a toilet in her community too. We built a family ecosan unit and her family started growing banana trees with the compost. She was so happy she didn't have to go out at night anymore.
With new toilets at school and at home, Ranjita finished her education and later got married. When they moved in together she couldn't believe her new home didn’t have a toilet. She spoke with her husband and in-laws and demanded that she’d only stay if they built a toilet. Her husband couldn't believe it! But one day Ranjitha showed him how healthy and happy it had made her whole family, he asked us for guidance and we helped him build an eco-toilet at home, where they all now happily live.