Mahafuza Begum lives in the Fulbaria slum of Savar in Bangladesh. She is a wife and mother of two girls. While she manages the family home, her husband is a garment worker at a nearby factory. Regardless of their efforts to maintain a clean house, the fact that they did not have a hygienic place to defecate presented a huge obstacle for the family. For years the couple used hanging latrines.
In an effort to protect her daughters, Mahafuza never let the girls use the hanging latrines as she was concerned for their physical safety, so they turned to defecating in the open, which led to other issues. During the rainy seasons the excrement contaminated the standing water around the house. Additionally, the children would risk exposure to mosquitoes, snakes and bacteria. The family suffered from many illnesses including diarrhea, dysentery, and worms.
Around the time Mahafuza and her husband started looking for a way to resolve their sanitation issues, Water.org’s partner, DSK, was hosting educational hygiene programs in their community. It was through interactions with the community health workers that Mahafuza learned about the benefits, and cost, of constructing a toilet at home.
DSK shared how WaterCredit could fund the construction of a latrine on their property. Because Mahafuza and her husband were ready for a change, they gladly took out a small loan to build a toilet. Having something as simple as a toilet has improved their lives; and the future looks brighter and healthier for their daughters.
This story was made possible by a generous grant from Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation and Johnson and Johnson.
To learn more about Water.org’s WaterCredit go here.