Karji panchayat of Banswara district in Rajasthan was the first gram panchayat to erase the blot of open defecation in the district, setting an example for other villages in the district. The transformation in the village could, to some extent, be credited to Shankari Maavi, a courageous and determined woman who continues to inspire others as she spreads the message of sanitation.
The district administration recently honoured the woman during the Gaurav Yatra organized in the presence of the MLA, Mr. Jeetmal Khant when she gave an inspiring message in local dialect, narrating how she built a toilet with her own hands.
Earlier, the village observation committee had advised Shankari Maavi to construct a toilet near her field for the use of her family. Others in Bagidor tehsil were similarly asked to build and use toilets during the various triggering and awareness building exercises carried out in the village to bring about behaviour change and encourage people to build and use toilets.
Not letting the responsibility of caring for her eight-member-family deter her, she became the mason and the labourer, as she constructed her own toilet. With tools in hand, she worked all day and night, without seeking help from anyone. Her mobile search light was her torch at night and during the day; she made time to take care of her crops. In this manner, she did justice to her regular agriculture work and fulfilled the need for cleanliness in her home by getting ready a toilet for use.
Through her actions, Shankari Maavi has set an extraordinary example for others. The toilet which she has built with her own hands has become a symbol of women power, for which the district administration salutes her.