For 33-year-old Mahima Bibi, the most glaring challenge confronting her new life after marriage was the complete absence of sanitation and hygiene facilities at her new home which she knew were important for good health and personal dignity. She came from a family and place where most of the houses had toilets. But with a lack of such facilities, her new home in Murshidabad seemed a backward place to her.
As a temporary solution, Mahima Bibi used to visit a nearby panchayath office every day only to use its toilet. A resident of Rani Nagar in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, Mahima Bibi’s immediate goal in life was to construct a proper toilet and get running water for the family.
She was always worried about the risk of diseases and the danger her family faced when they didn’t have access to a toilet and had to use open fields for defecation. “I tried to convince my husband to build a toilet in the house, but lack of money and fear of going against his family’s tradition remained a problem”, she recalls
However, everything changed dramatically when she was introduced to Muthoot Microfin. Mahima Bibi was thrilled to know about the collateral-free sanitation loan offered by the organisation and quickly availed the loan to build a toilet at her home. Muthoot Microfin ensured that Mahima Bibi was consulted at every point as the organisation believes that the success of the project depends on how the communities are consulted, educated, and being involved.
Now Mahima Bibi is a sanitation champion for her villagers who have been used to defecating in the open. She has also been advocating for the women in her village to build and use toilets to feel more empowered and secured.
A proud Mahima Bibi says “Now I feel more comfortable inviting guests to visit and feel safe while using the toilet at night and I can sleep a bit more. Earlier, I had to rush out at four in the morning. Muthoot Microfin helped me with an immediate loan and having a toilet has changed my life.”