Khateeja is confident and proud
Khateeja lives in a rural village in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Like her neighbors, Khateeja cares for her children at home while her husband sells vegetables. To supplement his earnings, Khateeja makes jewelry to sell. Their total income is comparable to other homes in their region, wherein people earn about $600 a year, which is less than $3 a day. With such an income, Khateeja and her husband were not able to construct a private toilet on their property.
Without a toilet, Khateeja and her daughters had no choice but to walk about 500 meters to relieve themselves in an open field. Khateeja worried greatly for her daughter’s safety knowing how dangerous going in public can be for young women.
To avoid being seen or mocked, Khateeja often waited all day until the night before she would go. Her daughters started doing the same. This behavior affected them mentally and physically. Their lack of choice and constant sense of fear is, unfortunately, a familiar state of existence for millions of women and girls around the world. And it is one of the reasons we do what we do at Water.org.
Because Water.org worked with Khateeja’s local bank to lend for water and sanitation in her region, Khateeja’s need for a toilet could be met. Khateeja applied for and received a small, affordable loan to fund the construction of a toilet on her property. Hope and confidence restored, Khateeja expresses gratitude and relief when she talks about this immediate improvement to her home and life.
For Khateeja, and for millions of other women around the world, affordable access to safe water or sanitation has an empowering effect. An opportunity, a choice, Khateeja found a way to end the sanitation crisis her family endured for far too long. She is proud that she was able to give them a private toilet at home and proud of the bright future she is creating for her family that is now healthy and safe.