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All a Matter of Determination and Focus

7 Oct 2023 10:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

As my mother, Neha Kaushal is Sewa’s Marketing and Outreach Coordinator for SHE National Team, we visited the Government Girls Middle School at Jharsa in the North Indian state of Haryana. Overhearing my mother's conversation with the schoolgirls, I realized some of them are irregular to school because of this issue, against their wish. It made me realize how privileged I was in America. In India, every year, diarrhea and other waterborne diseases kill over 770,000 children due to unhygienic and unsanitary conditions at home and at school.


On my return to the US, I searched online and found that half of the globe and about 30 million schoolchildren across India do not have access to proper sanitation facilities. I told my parents If I could do something to raise awareness about building toilets in rural India, I would not just be helping thousands of kids going to these schools, but I would also be helping raise awareness to do more in response to this problem. I set a goal of building six toilets by raising funds through a Facebook campaign. I shared my goal with various people in my community, school, friends, family and social gatherings, and at after school events.

I printed a QR code on banners and posted it on school notice boards, grocery shops, and Hindu temples.At first, it was a lot of hard work and a low collection on the Facebook fundraiser. Later, I gave presentations to some of my mom’s friends and got a few opportunities to present to different companies like Slalom Consulting, Acronis and Hitachi, and the donations started coming in.

I was able to raise $2,200 over 60 days, which I donated to Sewa International’s Sanitation, Hygiene and Empowerment of the Girl Child (SHE) program. They told me about an opportunity in a rural area around Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh (my father's native province), where they had recently got approvals to build toilets. We could complete the construction of six toilets in the Government Primary School, Bhagaonpur, with their help. They even sent me a few pictures of kids with smiling faces that would benefit from our little project. It helped me reach my goal and ultimately helped some girls continue their education.

India is a massive country, and instead of being stuck by the enormity of the problem, it is better to do something to solve the problem of a few. It was in part possible because of the various donors who came forward to help. I thank Sewa International for providing me with a platform to make a difference. The lesson for me is it is all a matter of determination and focus.

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