40-year-old Morish Jharia learned the importance of having a toilet after constructing one at home and started a crusade to educate his village people so that like him they can also benefit and live a healthy life.
For nearly forty years, Morish Jharia, from Simdega district of Jharkhand lived without a toilet at home. His daily routine involved waking up at three in the morning, trekking an hour in the to hunt for an ideal spot for him and his family to relive themselves. But, things took a turn for the better last year when Morish got to know about what is being claimed as the biggest cleanliness initiative – the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. It was then that he decided to get a toilet for himself and his family. After utilising a toilet at home, Morish realised how important it is to have one. And, from that very day, Morish began his Swachh crusade.
Life without a toilet is difficult, I didn’t know this before I started using one at my home. Every day, me and my family would go out in the open to relieve ourselves in the jungle, knowing it is a risky affair. But, nature’s call needs to be answered. We had no option. Last year, when through a panchayat programme I got to know about how the government is helping individuals build a toilet, I decided to get one, says Morish Jharia.
He further adds,
“And after I started using a toilet at home, I realised its importance. I thought this is a miracle, everyone needs and that’s when I started educating and motivating people of my village on getting one.”
Morish would go door-to-door in order to educate people on why it is important to get a toilet, how they can construct one and how they can get the toilet subsidy from the government. Not just that, he also helped people in getting the construction materials in order to build a toilet.
“We live in an area where there is no connectivity. I realised getting construction materials for building a toilet was a big hassle in the community, but, my dream was big. I wanted to make my village free from open defecation. I decided, I will help everyone in my village to get the materials, so that they don’t face any troubles and doesn’t resist in making a toilet,” added Morish.
Morish travelled for miles and miles, carried construction materials on his head every day in order to get every family in his village a toilet.
Sometimes, I would simply help the family in the construction process as well. Many times, people would simply say no to me, but I never lose hope. My aim was to get them toilets, added Morish.
Today, his selfless and continued efforts have helped the village earn the coveted tag of open defecation free recently. More than 975 toilets in his village have been constructed, all thanks to Morish.
His dedicated efforts have also been honoured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently during the concluding ceremony of #ChaloChamparan in Bihar, Morish was felicitated with Rs. 51,000, shawl and a swachh certificate.
The swachh warrior speaking to NDTV signs off by adding,
It is just not about one village or a gram panchayat, ultimately these all together will make India achieve its target of becoming an open defecation free country by 2019. And, together we all need to fulfill this dream. With everyone’s simple act, our country can achieve big success. I urge people to come forward and do whatever they can do towards the swachh bharat mission.