Dr Jyoti Lamba discovered that a village in Gujarat is deprived of the basic necessity – a toilet. She returned to the village and helped the villagers build 6,000 toilets in four years, often at her own expenses.
Meet the woman behind the toilet revolution in Gujarat – Dr Jyoti Lamba, who is a professor at Ahmedabad University and is on a mission to educate the people of Gujarat about the importance of having a toilet at home. This is her story of true heroism and humanity:
Since last three decades, I am a professor at one of the most prestigious University in the city. Teaching and interacting with students is something which has always made me happy and my life also used to revolve around them, until Gandhi Padyatra happened to me in the year 2013. Our university had organised a Gandhi Padyatra where students and faculties visited villages to understand about their problems. During the visit to different villages, I realised that villagers don’t have toilets and especially women are the most affected, said Dr Jyoti Lamba.
After the trip, Vice Chancellor of the University Dr Sudarshan Iyengar asked Dr Jyoti Lamba if she wanted to help the villagers in some way and suggested her to build toilets for these villagers. And that was the beginning of her Swachh journey.
This was a huge opportunity to serve my Nation and clean my planet – mother earth. I, immediately agreed, added Dr Lamba.
Today after over 4 years of that visit to the village, she has successfully built so many toilets, often at her own expense. The journey was not an easy task, Dr Lamba faced many obstacles, she recalls, “Villages were in a big mess and no one was ready to build toilets and as a woman, it was tough for me to explain the male villagers about the benefits of having a toilet in their house. It took me seven months to convince villagers to build toilets under the Government Program. Apart from villagers, people used to laugh at me and say look what work this professor is doing. For people building a toilet might be considered lowly, but, for me, it was an opportunity to serve my nation.”
Without taking a day off, Dr Lamba has been successful in building around 6,000 toilets in 34 villages of Gujarat, she has made toilets in those villages where there wasn’t a single toilet since Independence.
What’s more? Dr Lamba used to keep competitions of toilet building among villages in order to encourage people there to build toilets.
“Whosoever used to won, I used to give them prizes. I bought such prizes from my own savings, usually by cutting down my personal expense,” added Dr Lamba.
Dr Lamba signs off by saying,
Do what you love without thinking what others think about it. And development happens when Government and Citizens work together. The government can’t do everything alone, we have to participate and help in developing our country.