In Pune’s slums, people who know her call her ‘the toilet woman’. Thanks to Pratima Joshi’s efforts, many girls living in the shanties of at least six of Maharashtra’s cities don’t suffer from urinary tract infection, a reason why several drop out of school. An alumnus of Bartlett School of Architecture, University College of London, Joshi began working among slum dwellers in response to an inner call to aid the country’s disadvantaged. The mother of two and her associates launched an NGO, Shelter Associates, for this purpose in 1993.
Working as a social entrepreneur gives me an opportunity to connect people across the spectrum of society—the most vulnerable to the most powerful in an effort to positively impact the living environment of the urban poor
In the past 25 years, her organisation has built more than 12,000 household toilets in slums across Maharashtra. She says the ‘business model’ of Shelter involves using Geographic Information System (GIS) software, which crunches spatial data. Tie-ups with government and corporate entities helps raise funds for sewers, septic tanks, etcetera. They also get slum dwellers to save money for tiles and other building expenses. The unassuming Joshi, who routinely holds awareness workshops among women, says the urban poor are one of the most neglected groups in the country, and she is glad she has been able to secure their hygiene and privacy at least.
Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Public Square
Salman Rushdie, Author | Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Political scientist | Nandan Nilekani, Infosys Chairman | Srinath Raghavan, Historian | Ram Madhav, BJP Leader | Swapan Dasgupta, Political commentator and MP | Shashi Tharoor, Scholar Politician | TCA Raghavan, Historian | Ramachandra Guha, Historian | Brahma Chellaney, Strategic thinker | Uday Shankar, President, 21st Century Fox, Asia | Anantha Chandrakasan, Technologist | Gita Gopinath, Economist | Soumya Swaminathan, Paediatrician and clinical scientist | Prasoon Joshi, Poet and Censor Board chairman | Madhav Khosla, Scholar | Sidharth Luthra, Lawyer | Shayara Bano, Triple Talaq Petitioner | Reuben Abraham, Economic Analyst | Pratima Joshi, Architect | Reetika Khera, Economist | Shamika Ravi, Economist | Sharmila Bhattacharya, Scientist | Vijay Prasad, Historian | Nayanjot Lahiri, Historian | Avani Chaturvedi, Fighter Pilot, IAF | Pranshu and Nishant Patni, Entrepreneurs
Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Soft Power
Virat Kohli, Captain, Indian Cricket Team | Priyanka Chopra, Actor | Jeet Thayil, Author | Anju Dodiya, Artist | Alia Bhatt, Actor | Rajkummar Rao, Actor | Chetan Bhagat, Author | Jahnvi Dameron Nandan, Perfumer | Rupi Kaur, Poet | Parvathy Thiruvothu, Actor | Sujatha Gidla, Author | Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, Architect | Prayaag Akbar, Author | Ruchika Sachdeva, Fashion Designer | Palghat R Ramprasad, Carnatic musician | Unni R, Author | Kunal Kamra, Comedian | Vikas Khanna, Chef and Television Personality | Shoojit Sircar, Filmmaker | Srikanth Kidambi, Badminton Player | CS Santosh, Off-Road Biking Champion | Mayank Austen Soofi, Author and Blogger | Ratish Nanda, Conservation Architect