Haji Osman Sahib, the 60 year old maulvi of Dubba Jamtara village in Domchanch block of Koderma district was impressed when he attended a meeting of Jan Seva Parisad (JSP) on teh importance of sanitation. The meeting, organised by the Sub-Grantee of the Global Sanitation Fund programme, was tatended by most of the households from the village. The method adopted by the JSP team to make people aware of the relevance of toilets and its relation to health and hygiene made an impact on Haji Sahib. He, who had been preaching the teachings of Quran for more than 25 years, promised the JSP team that he wold do his best to persuade his community to stop open defecation.
To promote the use of toilets amongst Muslins, Haji Sahib collected funds worth Rs. 2.5 lakhs from his brothers and friends, and constructed two-units toilets with bathrooms in four mosques located in four different villages of the block. He started asking people to use the toilets to keep the mosques and their surroundings clean, which is a presecribed code of conduct as per the Holy Quran.
After Friday namaaz, he would deliver a discourse on safe sanitation, urging people to build and use toilets in their houses to keep their surroundings clean and prevent women from the disgrace of open defecation. He would tell them to build only one room instead of two if their pockets did not permit but insisted on the contruction of a toilet in the house.
Haji Sahib has visited many villages since he assumed this new role, and influenced many to build toilets from their own sources. Similarly, four households each in Janpur and Bacota, and two households each in Simratali and Bisota constructed toilets in their houses as a result of his sessions on sanitation.
Haji Sahib has never suggested or promoted any particular design for the toilet. The toilets constructed by these households have ranged between Rs. 5,000-10,000 (including a bathroom).
He now plans to generate funds from the well-off households in his community and use it to build toilets in other mosques and support poor households to build individual toilets. He has resolved to intensify this movement against open defecation in all his religious and community gatherings.
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