Banesa’s slum get a toilet, embraces health

Before experiencing the joy of a toilet, Banesa and her family were forced to use unhygienic hanging latrines: shoddy structures often made out of bamboo that sit a few feet above the ground. The human waste is not contained or treated and usually enters into the water sources, causing disease.

Imagine your day without a toilet. Where would you go?

For 48-year-old Banesa Begum and her family of five, life without a toilet meant defecating in the open or sharing an unhygienic hanging latrine with neighbors.

Hanging latrines are not pretty. They are shoddy structures often made out of bamboo that sit a few feet above the ground. The human waste is not contained or treated. It can easily enter into the water sources and cause disease.

Banesa, her husband, and two young kids never had privacy. They always suffered with the horrible smells, and worst of all, with dysentery, diarrhea, and worms.

While Banesa and her husband always desired a toilet, it was never a possibility because they were trapped in the cycle of poverty, barely making ends meet. But earlier this year, Water.org and its local partner DSK visited Fulbaria slum, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where Banesa lives. They met with the community and held awareness programs about the dangers of unhygienic hanging latrines and open defecation. And best of all, they offered an affordable solution called WaterCredit.

Banesa and other community members decided to take out a WaterCredit loan and install a hygienic toilet. They borrowed 60,000 taka [$799 USD] and built a community latrine. Today, all family members have privacy. There is no longer a pungent smell, and their children are able to use a toilet safely. All are happy to finally have a toilet, and no longer struggle with disease. Health has come to Banesa, her family, and the others living in Fulbaria slum!

Capital city: Dhaka
Population of 166 million
27.9 million lack safe water
74.8 million do not have improved sanitation services
Infant mortality rate of 4.5%
31.5% live in poverty

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