“I refuse to accept any more sickness in my family,” said Jostna, a 56-year-old wife and mother of five living in Bangladesh. Jostna and her husband have one son and four daughters. While their children are all grown now, her son remains in the home and requires full-time care.
You see, not until recently did the family have access to safe water or a private toilet at home. For years the family got their water from various, unreliable sources; ponds, streams, hand-dug wells, and nearby drainage canals. Their sanitation needs were not satisfactory either. Open defecation eventually led the family to build a toilet at home. Unfortunately they did not have enough resources or knowledge on such construction to create a safe, lasting solution.
Between unsafe water and poor hygiene, Jostna’s son became severely ill. When the family could finally get medical attention for him at the age of four, doctors concluded Jostna’s son to have permanent brain damage. This was due to the consumption of dirty water that led to multiple bouts of diarrhea and dehydration. The doctor recommended Jostna install a deep tubewell at home to prevent any more water-borne illness in the home.
Broken-hearted and determined to prevent her other children from suffering like her son, Jostna started saving money for a tubewell. The couple eventually installed a tubewell only to learn the arsenic levels in the water were very high in their village, causing the other children illness and spots on their skin. Jostna was done with unsafe water so the timing of Water.org’s work with local microfinance institutions in Bangladesh could not have been better.
It is for moms like Jostna Water.org created WaterCredit. WaterCredit empowers the poor to take hold of their water and sanitation crisis, and put an end to it. That’s exactly what Jostna wanted to do. Rather than come up with all of the funding at once, she could access a small loan to finance her own water tap and toilet. Jostna is now working with Water.org’s partner in Bangladesh to construct her own tap at home.This will put the needed resources into her home immediately, freeing her and her husband to work and focus on their children.
“I want to make sure our toilet and water sources are improved because I believe this will give us health, security and the dignity we have always wanted for our children.” - Jostna
The success of this story was made possible by a generous grant from the IKEA Foundation.