Authorities have set up multiple public toilets across the country as part of the Swacch Bharat programme, but their upkeep appears to be challenging at times, and as a result, women often avoid using these toilets unless they are clean. Sushma Kallempudi, a Hyderabad-based businesswoman, has built a working model of a ‘Mobile She Toilet' for women who prefer to use hygienic washrooms.
According to an article in The New Indian Express, Kallempudi, who is originally from Vizag, came up with the idea after realising that despite the city of Hyderabad having many public toilets, many people are hesitant to use them because many of them are in unsanitary conditions. She further stated that she had experienced a similar problem with unsanitary bathrooms in the city after returning to India from the United States.
Kallempudi initially considered providing sanitary pads, but she decided against it because there were so many NGOs doing the same thing.
She was quoted as saying, “I visited crowded areas in the city and realised that there was a need to introduce Mobile She toilets that can easily wade through crowded areas.” She sought funding from the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), state, and federal governments after finalising the design. Her concept was so popular that the local government and the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation agreed to implement it by transforming old automobiles into mobile toilets.
Within six months, Kallempudi plans to hand over 25 Mobile She Toilets to the GHMC.
This isn't the first time a concept like this has been implemented in an Indian city. In Pune, an entrepreneur duo previously transformed run-down buses into hop-on toilets. Any woman can board the toilet for a five-rupee ticket to use the facilities, breastfeed newborns, or purchase sanitary napkins and diapers.
The "Ti Toilet" project, founded by Ulka Sadalkar and Rajeev Kher in 2016, includes 12 mobile washrooms that are used on a daily basis by more than 200 women. "Ti" means ‘her’ in Marathi. Solar panels positioned on the vehicle's roof provide power to the buses.
Last year, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) earned a national award for its ‘Sthree toilet' initiatives in the ‘CSR for Social Development' category.