“I wrote about various issues in the country on my blog. Over time, I realized how I wrote about these issues but never did anything to solve them. At the same time, I was a teacher at the Royal Academy alongside many brilliant people. They gave me the inspiration to do more. I saw that most issues I’d written about were being solved with time but there were one issue no one was willing to work on – toilets.

Every time I talked about toilets, many shared my concern. But no one took charge. It may be because toilets have never been of importance in our society. During events, the least budget is allocated for toilets and it is left to the end of all preparations. At the time, there wasn’t a single Bhutanese toilet cleaner in the country. I started a Facebook page as an experiment. I called on people to post pictures of dirty toilets and tell us where they found them. The entries were many but the scenario remained the same. So a week prior to World Toilet day in 2015, I urged these people to clean the toilets. Over 350 people in 18 Dzongkhags took up the task. We made an exhibition and called on MPs to see our accomplishments. That was the first actual work of the Bhutan Toilet Organisation.

I feared leaving my job. The fear of survival plus the possibility of being tagged as the guy who cleaned toilets if I failed was massive. But with my family’s support, I quit and moved to Thimphu. It was His Majesty who gifted me with the ultimate strength to do this work. There were 3 major ways in which he helped me get public support – we took a picture that he allowed me to post on social media, he conferred on me the title of Chablop (the Toilet Teacher), and he presented me with the National Order of Merit gold medal. I can proudly say that toilets around the country have now improved and people are starting to appreciate cleaning toilets.

My story is similar to every Bhutanese my age. The organization I started worked because it was time for this change to come. The reach I had also helped. But above all, it is because I want to give back to my country that I do this. Working with toilets is only a part of what I do. I’ve also started a platform to archive and promote Bhutanese books. I never studied outside the country or even traveled much. But working with toilets has taken me to many places and taught me many things.”

Happy World Toilet Day! We urge everyone to take care of their toilets and sanitation, our collective effort can amount to a major change.

#HumansofThimphu #HumanStories #Thimphu #WorldToiletDay

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