Bharti Foundation’s ‘Satya Bharti Abhiyan’ helps make Rural Ludhiana open defecation free

Approx 18000 toilets constructed by Bharti Foundation and handed over to rural households in over 1000 villages and urban Ludhiana District; 87,000 individuals benefit from the initiative 

LUDHIANA: Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, today announced the completion of the ‘Satya Bharti Abhiyan’, its rural sanitation initiative to promote the eradication of open defecation in Ludhiana.

This is a major milestone for the initiative under which, approx 18,000 toilets have been constructed by Bharti Foundation and handed over to rural/urban Households across Distt. Ludhiana. This also makes Ludhiana (Rural) the second self-declared ‘Open Defecation Free’ District of Punjab.

Satya Bharti Abhiyan is one of the largest private sector supported interventions designed to contribute to Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission. Over 87,000 individuals, in particular women and children, in 1000 villages across Distt. Ludhiana have benefited from this initiative. In addition to rural household sanitation, separate toilets for girls have also been constructed in 14 Government schools in rural Ludhiana to encourage girl child education by ensuring that this basic infrastructure is not a barrier to them attending schools.

The occasion was graced by Shri Arun Jaitley, Union Minister of Finance, Defence & Corporate Affairs, who met and felicitated some of the beneficiaries and village leaders, and lauded them for their support towards building a cleaner India.

Other eminent dignitaries present on the occasion included Manpreet Singh Badal, Finance Minister, Punjab; Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Minister for Water Supply & Sanitation and Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, Government of Punjab.

Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Co-Chairman, Bharti Foundation, said, “We are proud to have contributed in our small way to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission and improving the quality of life of our fellow citizens. However, the biggest driver of this successful intervention has been the participation of the local communities in helping spread the message of sanitation. Ludhiana and the state of Punjab have today set a shining example for others to follow and I thank the State Government and the local administration for their valuable support and encouragement.”

The Satya Bharti Abhiyan was launched by Bharti Foundation in August 2014 as a response to the call given by Shri Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, urging corporates to join the Government’s efforts in sanitation and health under the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’.

Way Forward – Phase two

In addition, Bharti Foundation today announced plans to launch Satya Bharti Abhiyan in Distt. Amritsar (Rural) in partnership with the Government of Punjab to construct over 50,000 toilets.

In addition to providing sanitation solutions by constructing toilets for rural households, the Satya Bharti Abhiyan also focuses on increasing awareness among the rural population through Information, Education and Communication (IEC). Through IEC, beneficiaries are sensitized on the importance of using a toilet and towards adopting healthy sanitation practices for a cleaner and safer environment.

Diverse channels of communication, ranging from interactive banners to energetic rallies and Gram Sabhas helped the Foundation spread awareness among beneficiaries on the proper usage and maintenance of toilets.

Recognizing that lack of awareness is a major hindrance to the cause of sanitation, the students of Satya Bharti Schools carried out awareness campaigns and actively reached out to community members in the vicinity of the schools located in villages across six different states. They helped increase awareness on the benefits of hygiene and sanitation as well as on the correlation between household toilets and good health.