“King of Bollywood” Shahrukh Khan puts his star-power behind life-saving sanitation and hygiene work

Mumbai, 10 October 2011 – Shahrukh Khan, one of the world’s most popular and much-loved Bollywood personalities, is making the fight for the right to safe sanitation and good hygiene his own.  The announcement was made last night at the start of the Global Forum on Sanitation and Hygiene, an international conference taking place this week in Mumbai.

“I am very happy to be an advocate for these important issues, because I believe in every human being’s right to live with dignity,” Shahrukh Khan said. “It is shameful and tragic that every 30 seconds a child dies from preventable diarrhoea — that’s two unnecessary child deaths per minute, almost 3,000 a day or 1 million young lives wasted each year.”

Mr. Khan said he dreams of an India and a world where poor and vulnerable people don’t have to squat in the street or in the bushes to meet Nature’s call.  “It’s really quite simple. Toilets for all will make India and the world a healthier and cleaner place, particularly for poor women, girls and others at the margins of our societies,” Mr. Khan said, adding “Sanitation for all does not require huge sums of money or breakthrough scientific discoveries. Political commitment at the highest level, the need to create awareness, and meet the demand for sanitation, are all challenging issues, but doable.”

Jon Lane, executive director for the UN-hosted Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), which asked Mr. Khan to serve in the role of ambassador, says the actor’s support for the issues is greatly welcomed. “Mr. Khan is highly regarded by billions of people in South Asia and Africa, where most of the people without good sanitation and hygiene services live,” Mr. Lane said. “By extending his support to water, sanitation and hygiene issues, Mr. Khan will give a huge impetus to moving the agenda forward of ensuring there is a toilet in every home and proper hand-washing practices are followed by all in the region.”

In the coming months, Mr. Khan will advocate with the public about the impact toilets and proper handwashing on their lives by highlighting the strong linkages it has on their health and the environment around them including their ground water sources. (Click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMWnoH2Mxc8 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Uz4THb8PFA to view his first public service announcements.)

Experts meeting in Mumbai
Some 500 activists, business leaders, health professionals, governmental officials and others from 70 countries are attending the first-ever Global Forum on Sanitation and Hygiene (www.wsscc-global-forum.org) in Mumbai. Arranged 9-14 October by the Geneva-based WSSCC and the Governments of India and Maharashtra, the Forum aims to highlight how to save millions of lives through handwashing, how to build educational opportunities for teenage girls through separate latrines, and how to “invest in waste” through biogas-generating toilets and other entrepreneurial innovation.

Of the 2.6 billion people living without safe and clean toilets, roughly a third live in South Asia, a third in sub-Saharan Africa and a third in China. These people are unable to fulfil their daily needs with safety, convenience and dignity. There are good reasons to turn this situation around, including evidence that points to the negative economic impacts of poor sanitation.

“Poor sanitation is costing developing countries between 3 and 7% of GDP,” said Anna Tibaijuka,  chair of WSSCC. “Improved access to toilets has the potential to reduce healthcare costs, improve productivity, increase earnings from tourism and promote greater educational attainment, especially among girls. When a school has separate toilets for girls, with doors that lock, their attendance rates improve, especially once they reach menstruation.”


4 responses to ““King of Bollywood” Shahrukh Khan puts his star-power behind life-saving sanitation and hygiene work

  1. Nripendra Kumar Sarma, Guwahati, Assam (India )

    Dear Members,

    Shahrukh Khan’s comment that …… “Sanitation for all does not require huge sums of money or breakthrough scientific discoveries. Political commitment at the highest level, the need to create awareness, and meet the demand for sanitation, are all challenging issues, but doable.”……. should truely be felt at all level including the policy makers to implementation stakeholders. To create grass root level awareness and demand for safe sanitation is really doable although challenging. Of course, it is doable as Shahrukh Khan felt. But, in India, what we need is the whole hearted approach to remove all the bottlenecks and to change the most negative view … “Sanitation is Not My Cup of Tea”…. .

    At this moment of time, my humble request to Shahrukh Khan, the Global WASH Ambassador, is to lead the initiative to create the Social Commitment on use of safe sanitation practices. May I request YOU to spare 4-5 days every month to visit at least one cluster of villages in all the states of India, one by one as WASH Ambassador to create that Social Commitment ( I am not sure how far it will be practicable )?

    Such an approach may definitely pave the way for the CHANGE, what you and we want to see ……. .

    Thanking you.

    With Best Regards

    Nripendra Kumar Sarma

    Guwahati, Assam, India.

  2. Pingback: Dangerous Feces Glut – 7 Billion Reasons Why | Bloggo Schloggo

  3. will shahrukh khan go to Indonesia on February 2012??
    give me answer..thanks before;)

  4. Nripendra Kumar Sarma, Guwahati, Assam, India

    Dear All,
    I am sorry that we have seen nothing about Shahrukh Khanji’s effort for branding life saving Sanitation and Hygienic activities, after the declaring Him as Global WASH Ambassador.
    Rather we have seen him for branding IPL in Cricket and very recently he is reportedly planning for branding IPL in Football also.
    May we request YOU for necessary Branding the WASH Programme at least in South East Asia?
    Hope to see you in such a noble efforts and I would like to request you to start this from the next SACOSAN V being organised in Kathmandu. I would love to see YOU as Member of the Indian Delegates in next SACOSAN V.
    Thanking All.
    Best Regards.
    Nripendra Kumar Sarma
    Guwahati, Assam, India

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