Around the world 2.5 billion people have no sanitary facilities and 1 billion people defecate in the open. India’s population is all too familiar with this global sanitation crisis. In India alone, 802 million people do not have a place to go. For Kala’s family, a toilet means more than just hygiene; a toilet at home means time, safety, opportunity, and dignity. Read their story.

Recently Kala shared what life was like without a toilet, “When there was no toilet in our house we had to go out for defecating in the open, near the road. It was difficult as cars kept coming. We could not go out at any time. We had to go only when it was dark. We managed to control, but how could I ask my children, especially an adolescent daughter to go out for defecation?”

Kala is a brick kiln worker and her husband works construction on the highways. Together they make enough to provide for their family. In addition to her work, Kala is a ward member and through her participation became aware of the work Water.org was doing in her community. She met with Water.org’s partner, SCOPE, to learn more about WaterCredit and how a small loan could help her family construct a toilet.

“When I came to know about the WaterCredit program of Water.org I learned that a loan could be taken for constructing a toilet in our home. This gave me some confidence and made me realize that this could help our family,” said Kala.

After learning about the products available to them, Kala and her husband constructed a urine diversion flush toilet, with a urine filter. The urine and water are routed through a separate pipe and are used in her kitchen garden where she grows a few varieties of beans.

“As my husband has a regular income we could repay the loan very easily. I have paid all of our installments. It is a good feeling when you no longer have to pay and you know it is your toilet,” smiled Kala.

“Today, we have a toilet. We do not go out for open defecation. I get some social status in my village. To our family a toilet is more important than a house. We live in a hut, but we have dignity."

This story was made possible by a generous grant from the Bank of America Foundation.

Capital: New Delhi
Population of 1.2 billion
77 million lack access to safe water
769 million lack access to improved sanitation
59% of the total population lives on less than US$2 per day