A village in Sindh where Friday is celebrated as Cleanliness Day
- 21 February, 2017
By Noor Pamiri
Adam Nahyun is a small village of almost 30 households located deep in Tando Muhammad Khan District of Sindh. It is a remote village, covered by trees and bushes from all sides, reachable after traveling through an unpaved and dusty pathway. There are few resources. Most of the people are engaged in manual labor. Women also work on and off the field earning enough to afford a couple of meals every day.
Some NGOs came to their village after the devastation caused by the floods in 2010. They also brought with them various ideas, but most of them have been forgotten now, mainly because the locals were not organised, until recently.
Eleven months ago, the women of Adam Nahyun village formed a Community Organisation, after attending a meeting conducted by National Rural Support Programme (NRSP). The CO, which they have named after their village, has emerged as a platform for the otherwise dormant women, who can now come together and deliberate on a range of issues. Also, they are now more aware about health issues.
What is most unique about the residents of Adam Nahyun village is that they celebrate a Cleanliness Day every Friday. All the women come out on Friday and start cleaning their small village. They clean the village’s land, their houses, the small streets, and burn the trash at a designated place. They had built some latrines in the past, but now every village household is striving to have a latrine, so that the sewerage problem is resolved once and for all.
“Cleanliness is important because it is good for our health. Earlier children in our village were affected by diseases like diarrhea. By constructing latrines and keeping the village clean, and focusing more attention on the children clean, we are hoping to reduce the germs and diseases”, said Hameeda Ali Akbar, who is also the manager of the Community Organisation.
She also said that after attending training sessions conducted by NRSP, the CO members have become more aware about the importance of vaccinating the children, and taking them to school.
Enrollment in the local primary school has doubled during the last 11 months, due to the advocacy campaign launched by CO members. A middle school is located 4 kilometers away from the village. The CO members said that they would write applications to the district authorities to make education more accessible in their vicinity. They have also conducted a plantation drive in their village.
The women of the village are doing all this despite of resistance from some male members of the society who have reservations against non-locals coming to their village. They think that this is against their code of honor. I was uncomfortable taking photographs in the clean and beautiful village after some verbal hostility was shown by a man, who, the women asked us, to ignore.
I hope that with the passage of time, as the women are able to do more projects in their village and able to visibly improve their quality of life, all the men will see the positive side and shun their hostility. Most of the men are already in favor of the women’s positive and visible role in the society.
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