A 7-month pregnant tribal woman’s zeal to work for a Swachh Bharat in Palghar, Maharashtra, shows how we can beat the odds to achieve something for the people’s welfare.

Sushila Khurkute dug toilet pits for three consecutive days without any help from the family and her perseverance paid off. Seeing her zeal to achieve the government’s Open Defecation-Free (ODF) project in Maharashtra, PM Narendra Modi felicitated her at an event in Gandhinagar this International Women’s Day on March 8.

Sushila lives in a tribal community and there are no toilets in her district. So the mother of two used to go for open defecation like half of India’s rural population.

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In mid-February, when the government’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyan movement gathered steam to seriously push for sanitation among the masses, Sushila took matters into her own hands. She decided to build herself a toilet. She was determined not to continue doing what she has been doing since childhood, even after relieving herself in open areas during her first two pregnancies, according to Hindustan Times.

In an attempt to improve her village environment and to spread the awareness of hygiene and cleanliness, she started digging the hole with an aim to construct two toilet blocks as part of the campaign.

Sushila’s effort caught the attention of UNICEF and a group of representatives contacted the authorities to lend a helping hand to the determined lady.

Following this, Palghar’s CEO Nidhi Chowdhary termed Sushila as ‘the face of the ODF programme’.

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“We are happy that she is now being looked at as a motivator by the residents of her village and nearby areas too for this ODF initiative of hers,” said Nidhi to Mumbai Mirror. 

Sushila has spoken about how in the past she has seen several deaths and damage due to open-defecation.

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More power to you Sushila!

Feature Image Credit: ScoopWhoop

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