Let’s talk toilets…

Posted by Helen 
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Well, just as we said it was all over… something else in the Western Ghats has come along!

India generally has a huge need for toilets in, or at least close to, homes. If you travel on buses and trains in India, you can’t help seeing people defaecating in the open – beside railways, squatting in fields, against hedgerows – and always with their backs facing you to save face.

It’s a recognised scandal in India and the newspapers print stories about it regularly (only this week a young bride only agreed, in court, to return to her marital home if her husband built a toilet in their property). The issue is at least being addressed by the government, charities and other institutions.

India Toilet

We had the great fortune to meet our mentor, Father George (now stationed in Delhi), on Christmas Day and he told us that this situation still applies up in ‘our’ villages in the Western Ghats. The villagers ‘do their business’ in the streambeds and this obviously has a public health implication. As usual, the kids are most at risk and treating water-borne diseases costs the villages scarce funds and weakens the children as they start their schooling. The otherwise great results of raising the watertable has had one major bad side-effect… it is now easier for impurities to enter the water system, even if they are more diluted when they get there.

Father George has come up with a plan and Helping Elsewhere is wholeheartedly supporting it. He has designed and contracted for simple toilets placed between the main houses and they will be finished to a high standard so that they will be a source of pride and thus used (otherwise there is a danger that the new facilities become just another store room).

The cost of each toilet is 50 UKP and we can tell you that just one week’s trading in our Steyning shop just before Christmas (Thank-you Tracey!) has raised enough for five loos already! Great work guys!

Now, I posted a version of this plan on our FaceBook account the other day, and a very kind lady that comes into our shop has messaged me to say that she wishes to ‘buy’ a loo for the village out of her Christmas gift money. We are humbled and can only offer a very simple public ‘thank-you’ to this marvelous lady.


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