I was a loner. I stayed to myself. I did not speak to too many people. I did not participate in village activities or in the proceedings of the committee meetings of my daughter’s school even though I was a committee member. I lacked self-confidence and moreover, I was afraid to speak up in large groups, especially if the group had men. My daughter’s school was selected for construction of toilets under ICICI’s Swachh Bharat – Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan. This was a big step forward for the school. The committee started deliberating on where the toilets would be constructed. I realised that the place chosen for the construction of toilets was not suitable for girl students. For the first time in my life, I asserted myself. With the help of the ICICI Foundation’s members who saw the merit in my perspective; we convinced everyone to change the proposed site. I was even asked to supervise the construction of the toilets! While the construction was under progress, I recommended a modification in the design of the toilets. This design improvisation which made the toilets more convenient for the girls was later adopted by ICICI in at least a 100 other schools. I was overjoyed that girls could now use the facilities without any problem. I participate a lot more in village activities now. I feel confident and can now speak up in front of anyone. I believe that I am now ready to face all the challenges that life throws at me.
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