Moina is one of the approximately four million people living in slums in Dhaka, Bangladesh that can be evicted from their homes at any time, without warning. Five months ago, the government evicted her from the previous slum where she was living because they decided to reclaim the land it had been built on.
Twenty-two year old Moina now lives in Board Guard slum with her husband and eight-month-old daughter. She works as a housemaid and her husband is a rickshaw puller. Here, they pay 500 taka ($7.25 USD) per month for rent.
Because her slum does not have access to safe water, she currently gets her family’s drinking water from a public source about a mile away. They must pay 100 taka ($1.45 USD) per month to use it. It’s not unusual for the water to run out before everyone in line has been able to fill their pots. She collects water in the morning and again in the evening. Each trip takes her one to two hours.
She uses the nearby pond for all other daily water needs – bathing, washing clothing, cleaning utensils, etc. This pond is contaminated by human and animal waste, as well as pollution. There are no sanitary toilets in Board Guard; instead, they have constructed “hanging latrines,” which are basically sheets of cloth hung on bamboo poles for privacy, and then more bamboo poles to stand on while defecating into the water (or onto the ground) only two feet below.
Moina and her family have suffered from water-related disease, such as diarrhea, jaundice, and various skin diseases. Moina is a young woman with tremendous energy and spirit. She is working with other Board Guard residents and they have formed community-based organization to apply for a small loan for a tubewell and latrine through DSK, Water.org’s local partner.
Moina said it is her dream to have clean water right by her home.