Chikkamagaluru: He is all of 18 years and is an SSLC drop out, but what he has achieved has catapulted him to a status of being one of the most respected persons in his village.Meet Mahanthesh, resident of Jiganehalli of Kadur taluk, who is undoubtedly becoming the face of Total Sanitation Campaign of the region. What Mahanthesh has done is extra-ordinary. In a span of mere three months, he has toured seven villages in his GP limits and constructed 500 toilets so far!
What prompted Mahanthesh to do his bit towards the success of the Campaign? Well, he was moved by the problems faced by women in general in his village and pregnant women in particular.
He says that young girls and old women in general had to make the practice of going to the open fields to answer nature’s call way before the sunrise or had to wait for the sunset. However, when his pregnant neighbor fell ill due to food poisoning, she was compelled to go to the open fields every now and then. Seeing her predicaments, Mahanthesh decided to bring in a change.
With no support from his own family, Mahanthesh decided to take up building toilets as a mission and went ahead brushing aside all criticism.
“I had a realisation that what I was doing was great work. I believed in myself and I started sending in applications to the GP for funds to build toilets,” says Mahanthesh.
When the funds were available, he started building toilets, but this apart, Mahanthesh had also taken up the role of an opinion leader and a volunteer, who had walked house to house talking to people about importance of stopping open defecation and need for toilets in each house.
People gradually got convinced with Mahanthesh’s talks and soon joined hands by supporting him. He convinced people to come forward to apply for the funds. When the work on toilet begins, Mahanthesh makes it a point to personally supervise each work.
For all the hardwork and dedication, today Mahanthesh’s success lies in the fact that those villagers who had not spent a penny on building a toilet over last few decades are now lining up at the Gram Panchayat office to apply for funds to build toilets. Rest is history.
Mahanthesh has shown the world that age is just a number if someone decides that he will not stop till he reaches his goal.