Gandhi Jayanti is celebrated annually on October 2nd and is a national holiday in India to honor Mahatma Gandhi (also known as “The Father of a Nation”). This year, however, was also a special celebration to mark Gandhiji’s 150th year birth anniversary. Gandhiji taught us to lift the poor and also about Swachh Bharat. The Indian government implemented the “Swachh Bharat Mission” on October 2, 2014, to make India ODF (Open Defecation Free). Five years later, on October 2, 2019, Prime Minister Modi, successfully declared India was ODF on Gandhiji’s 150th year birth anniversary.
When I think back upon our ShantiSeva Mission, which we started in January 2010, our goal was to help rural & marginalized communities improve access to vital services, such as clean drinking water, improved sanitation, good hygiene and also to help finance start-up businesses to improve people’s quality of life. In 2011, ShantiSeva started the “Swachh Graham Mission” to improve sanitation, hygiene and provide for clean drinking water in our villages by 70-80%. We are working to make it 100%. We have also given interest-free micro-loans to women to start home-based businesses. In our ten-year journey, we have adopted five villages and made them model villages. This is our ongoing contribution to Gandhi Jayanti to fulfill Mahatma’s dream.