"Talk Toilets" Break Down The Taboo!

Long-held silence over the taboo subject of toilets is taking its toll on global health and as a result basic sanitation needs are suffering because no one wants to discuss what they perceive as a disgusting topic. But in reality, just think and imagine for a few seconds being without a toilet, what would you do and where would YOU go?

Despite the fact that The United Nations General Assembly declared the year 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation. More active action on a global participation on the issue of sanitation needs to be taken by Governments, Public and Private Sectors.

The 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) state that 2.6 billion of the six billion people on the Earth today do not have access to safe and hygienic toilets, and have slated a target that toilets should be provided to half of those people by 2015 and to all by 2025.

Take active action and break the Toilet Taboo. Help us raise awareness so people can take action to help empower people who need basic sanitation and to accelerate progress towards the MDG target and build toilets in Punjab, India and around the world.

Make a Toilet Wish Come True!

Whatever You Can Do Or Dream You Can, Begin It. Boldness Has Genius, Power and Magic In It! - Goethe

The Punjab Lioness Toilet Foundation is a private family non-profit dedicated to creating awareness and solutions for the global sanitation issues. Our mission is to:

1) Provide awareness of sanitation issues in India and around the globe.

2) Empower Indian families including Sikhs to take ACTION (Seva - selfless service) on their own part to provide sanitation to people in their respective Indian villages from where they migrated.

3) Connect people to the right information and resources who can help them build sanitation solutions in India or around the world.

Please review the short video's on the right by the Sulabh Social Service Organization in India and see the fantastic work they are doing, and in the hope that the stories might touch your hearts please take action and help with this initiative. Visit them in Delhi on your next trip and stop by their World Toilet Museum!

To all fellow Sikh's take action and build toilets in your own villages. You know the families that need sanitation, help them directly. This is True Seva (Selfless Service) as mandated by our founding Sikh Guru's.

If you are proud of your respective Indian villages, I urge you to make a difference. Visit your Punjab village schools and make sure they have sufficient toilet facilities and be conscious of the living standards of less fortunate individuals near your home in India and see where you can make a difference. One family at a time, lets Make a Toilet Wish Come True and collectively help resolve the Sanitation problem in Punjab, India.

Sanitation is India’s biggest problem. 700 million people have no toilets in their homes. In slums, there are no toilets. A huge Indian population has to use open areas to answer nature’s call. India today has nearly ten million bucket toilets that are manually cleaned by scavengers. We cannot let his continue. 700,000 children die every year due to diarrhea and dehydration caused by poor hygiene. Many schools in rural India do not have toilets and this is one of the main reasons why girls dropout from school once they cross the primary level. Can we let this continue? Collectively, one family at a time, let’s make a difference in Punjab, India.

The Punjab Lioness Toilet Foundation is more than just building toilets. It is about self realization of why we are all here on this planet. If we can not help one another in times of need then what is the purpose of life? This is about GIVING BACK DIGNITY TO LESS FORTUNATE INDIVIDUALS AND ESPECIALLY FEMALES. Punjabi families are very strong willed and can collaborate together very quickly in times of need, it is part of our Sikh culture to help and give back to society. Join the initiative and help provide a toilet to families in your villages today.

Friday, June 13, 2008

India Trip - Toilets, Manure, Power and Liberation!

During our recent trip to India in May 2008, my husband and I made an interesting trip to the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation in Delhi to find out more about their toilet designs and the cost to deploy toilets in villages in the State of Punjab. We were warmly greeted by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak the founder and his team. The purpose of our trip was to inspect the Sulabh Shauchalaya-technology, which we are convinced is technologically appropriate, socially and culturally acceptable and more importantly economically affordable for everyone in India to have a toilet. The toilet requires only TWO litres of water to flush and can function even where there is not sufficient water available. The toilet design does not require the service of scavengers nor does it pollute air and as a bonus it provides manure and power! The toilet technology can be cleaned and easily maintained by house-owners themselves. The two pits work alternately. The toilet technology can be easily upgraded i.e. can be easily connected to a sewer system when it is introduced in the area. See below for detailed pictures of our tour. The Government of India, State governments, various national, bilateral and international agencies like UNICEF, WHO,UNDP / World Bank etc have accepted that Sulabh Shauchalaya (twin pit pour-flush toilet) is the most appropriate low-cost technological option available today. They have suggested the adoption of this system in India and other developing countries. The Government of India has included low-cost sanitation as a component in the Integrated Development of Small and Medium Towns (IDSMT) Programme. The Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) has also started giving financial assistance for low-cost sanitation to various categories of beneficiaries. Sulabh is not just about toilets it is a leading non-governmental organization which takes up liberation of scavengers by converting dry/bucket privies into Sulabh Shauchalaya(twin pit pour-flush toilet) and in doing so Sulabh then rehabilitates and liberates the scavengers. Sulabh organizes programmes which we were given a tour of at their facility, to train them in various vocations such as driving, mechanics, tailoring, typing, computer, cane work, carpentry, masonary etc. They are also educated on health, sanitation and personal hygiene. Sulabh established the training institutes exclusively for scavengers at Patna and Mahavir Enclave, New Delhi. It has also established such an institute at Jambol Distt., Thane, in collaboration with the State government and is running it successfully.

Tour of Sulabh International and their Toilet Technology in May 2008

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The History Of the Punjab Lioness Toilet Foundation

So here's a bit of history on why I have created this Blog.

When my mother passed away, I was 40 years of age and I found myself on a soul searching trip to understand my purpose in life. Having observed my mother's life including her hardships and successes I was determined to find an answer to the biggest question of my lifetime "Why Are We All Here". That journey took me down several paths of reading numerous spiritual and self development material, pursuing various interests including Health and Nutrition, Financial Education and in Spring 2007 something finally "clicked".

I was reading a paper on personal development that engaged the topic of how to create success in your life. No matter what field of work you are involved in, what I have learned is that individual success is a "by product" of "helping other people". At that same moment in time an idea just popped into my head "I would build toilets in Punjab, India for families in need". That was the beginning of this journey.

The series of incidents and recollections that have followed since the toilet topic emergence in my conscious, has just reaffirmed that this is part of my life path and my way of giving back to society.

I also decided at that same time to name the cause after my mother Pritam Kaur Bahia who was known as the Lioness as a result of her courage during her lifetime. Why Lioness? Read on further and all will be revealed!

Some History On My Mother
My father died at a very young age of 39 in 1973 whilst visiting India on vacation and my mother was relayed the terrible news of his death by my brother who was 12 at the time, who had to read a Telegram clearly stating our father had died on June 14th, 1973 of a heart attack. Observing the incident I clearly recollect her annoyance as she slapped by brother sharply and shouted at him for being illiterate as he clearly did not understand the content of the telegram. She then dashed off to a relatives house who sadly brought her to the sad realization that she was left to bring up four children on her own. I was 9 years old, my brother Gurdial (David because again the teachers could not pronounce his name in school decided to change his name!) was 12 and my sisters Kuldeep was 6 and Rashpal (Palo) was 4.

The Significance of "The Lioness"
When my mother passed away in November 18th, 2004, my family realized that we did not have any quality solo photograph of our mother that we could frame in her memory. My PC creative brother-in-law Parminder (Sam) Vedash, recreated a photo from a small "photo booth" size picture and enlarged it placing it behind a backdrop of golden coloured leafs.

When I first saw the photo during my mother's funeral visit, I could not believe that the photo had been created from such a small picture. Further, I was intrigued that my brother-in-law used a backdrop of Canadian Maple Leaves! Not giving the photo much further thought, I brought back a copy to Canada and placed it proudly in a photo frame and placed it on a coffee table in my family room.

Within one week of staring at the photo during my remorse, I realized that the photo contained a "Lions Head" to the right of my mother's face! (as you look at the photo head on). The image could easily be seen from a distance, just like those 3D holographic artwork pieces sold in art stores. I excitedly phoned my sisters in the UK and asked them if they too could "see the Lions Head" and as I expected YES they did!

Well that was the beginning of discovering the Lioness and that perhaps the photo contained a "secret code" message from our mother!

It was not until I realized that perhaps one of my purposes in life is create awareness of global sanitation issues and help with funding raising for toilets that I immediately decided to call it the Punjab Lioness Toilet Foundation.

I further discovered the relevance of the Canadian Maple leaves. I was the only child residing in Canada and if you view the photograph carefully on the bottom left hand corner there is ONE large BRIGHT leaf, could this be the significance of Mandip Kaur Sandher pursuing this initiative. Perhaps.

Can You Spot The Lions Head Amongst The Leaves?

Can You Spot The Lions Head Amongst The Leaves?
Jasvinder Kaur Bahia - 1930 - Nov 18, 2004