Pradeep is a Changemaker
How do you change people’s stinking, bad habits…try whistling!
The Dabba Dhol gang is 15-year- old Pradeep Mewada’s idea. Pradeep lives in a small village in Madhya Pradesh. He learnt that because of the poo all over the village, they all frequently suffered from bouts of diarrhoea, infections and fever.
At 5 am a whistle rings out sharp and clear in a small village in Madhya Pradesh. That’s the signal for the ‘Dabba Dhol gang’ to get up to some serious mischief against their deadly, sworn enemy- the villagers bad habit of open defecation (that means using the wide, open spaces of the village as a toilet. Yuck!)
The Dabba Dhol gang is 15-year-old Pradeep Mewada’s idea. Pradeep lives in a small village in Madhya Pradesh. He learnt that because of the poo all over the village, they all frequently suffered from bouts of diarrhoea, infections and fever.
He told his family and they became the first family in the village with a toilet in their house. But still, many elders didn’t like using it and went out into the fields in the morning.
He then understood that this issue doesn’t just need more toilets, it needs people to change their behaviour.
That’s when he got the idea of the ‘Dabba Dhol’ gang. Every morning he and his friends would follow the villagers and knock down the vessels of water (the ‘dabbas’) they carried to clean themselves.
“People would get extremely angry. They would come to our house, threaten and abuse us. But we did not stop,” says Pradeep courageously.
Once a neighbour even beat up Pradeep and his team. Still he continued. He became the most hated kid in the village but his mother stood by him through all this.
After some months the Sarpanch of the village supported his idea. Soon the villagers started understanding and built more toilets.
Then there was another problem- lack of water. The kids got a borewell dug in the village. Now all the 300 households in the village proudly use their own toilet.
Slowly Pradeep’s mission has spread to nearby villages. Now his team covers about 10 to 12 villages. It all started with a whistle.
Pradeep is an example of the brave and bold changemakers that inspire the next generation. His story makes young people think differently about is possible.
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