Kanpur (UP), Sep 16 (PTI) Life has gone through a sea change for villagers of Ishwariganj, which has been declared open defecation free.

President Ram Nath Kovind kicked off the fortnight-long ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ (Cleanliness is Service) campaign from this village yesterday.

The president also honoured those who contributed in making Ishwariganj village open defecation free.

Recalling the cleanliness journey, 22-year-old Manju, a resident of Ishwariganj said, “It is a pleasant journey from going to the fields to using toilets. Toilets in every household have certainly boost the levels of confidence and self-respect among women.”

Manju, who got married to Neeraj Nishad of this village almost seven years ago, said their family got a toilet about six months ago.

“Life has certainly changed for me and my children,” she said.

Echoing similar sentiments, Asha Devi (30), whose husband is a farm labourer, says that the habit of using toilets has brought a “paradigm” shift.

Another woman, 20-year-old Lalita said, “With toilets coming up in every household and the villagers gradually adopting its use, we heaved a sigh of relief, as earlier the women folk of the village hesitated to go to the fields in morning hours.”

She said overall hygiene and awareness level among the children in the village too improved.

Jaitri Devi (60) said, “When I got married, no one could have imagined that in my lifetime, I will have a toilet in my house. This is certainly a welcome change.”

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.