A little girl has not only convinced her father Rajapandi to stop drinking liquor but also made him build a toilet for her mother, thus fulfilling her dream to have one.
“Now, we are happy and comfortable because of my daughter Dharani,” says R. Karthika of A. Kurumbapatti in the Athoor block's Ambathurai Panchayat.
Dharani, who is six years old, convinced his father that open defecation affected her mother's dignity, and embarrassed her every day. “My husband had no option but to give in,” Ms. Karthika says. “Now, we have a toilet.”
The child felt hurt when her inebriated father frequently quarrelled with her mother. One day, she told his father that he would be left alone if he did not stop drinking as her mother and she would go away to the grandparents' home in Vadamadurai.
Her determination disturbed Mr. Rajapandi who then stopped drinking liquor and went to Kerala for work. “I tried to convince him for five years. I failed miserably. But my daughter succeeded in it,” says Ms. Karthika.
“Her aim is to sensitise more people in the village,” says K. Sivakumar, secretary of the Gandhigram Trust, which honoured her with a shawl and memento.
Says Ms. Dharani, “My teacher has been advising me often about the importance of personal hygiene and clean surroundings to lead a healthy life. She also insisted that I should use toilets and avoid defecation in open places. Her advice motivated me to convince my daddy to construct a toilet for us. Now, I ask my mother to use the toilet.”