Jostna

Jostna endured years of heartache as she watched her son fall physically ill from an unknown cause. After concluding the cause to be unsafe water, a brave Jostna did what it took to prevent her other children from suffering as well. Read about how Jostna beat her family’s water crisis.

“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.

 Jostna and her daughters show their daily trek for water.

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.

Jostna pumps water into her vessel.

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.

Jostna pumps water into her vessel.

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.

Capital: Dhaka
Population of 160 million
20 million lack access to safe water
63 million lack access to improved sanitation
77% of the total population lives on less than US$2 per day
Bangladesh