Even after two years, the memories of severe cyclonic storm Hudhud still remain afresh in the minds of villagers of Pedda Bidda in Anantagiri mandal who lost their homes and belongings and eventually left the place, seeking temporary shelter in the neighbouring areas for the next few days.
When the villagers came back after a week, they discovered that the devastating cyclonic storm had washed away whatever little they owned. “Cooking and farming came to a grinding halt for the next few weeks as we lost everything we had and it took quite a while for us to afford two square meal a day later,” says Janani Sanasamma, a resident of the hamlet, reminiscing her horrid experience.
On October 12, 2014, 83 houses were damaged beyond recognition. Two years later, the residents of Pedda Bidda not only got back their homes in a new format, each stretching up to 308 sq ft, but were also introduced to a new concept – twin-pit latrine.
The joint endeavour of HSBC and Habitat for Humanity India to rebuild disaster-resilient houses in the hamlet ended their perennial problems besides educating them on various aspects that can be considered to maintain sanitation and lead a life of dignity.
Perhaps, this is the first time many of them are seeing a toilet. “Open defecation is a norm here for aeons. The washroom concept is something unheard of since our childhood,” says G. Simhachalam, a farmer.
The year-long massive campaigning against open defecation taken up by a team of volunteers gave way to significant change in the mindset. “It not only helped us understand the ill-effects of the practice but also encouraged us to advocate our friends and relatives to use toilets. Moreover, the twin-pit pour flush toilet provides a complete sanitation solution to us,” says B. Sreenu, another resident of Pedda Bidda.