Photo Credit: downtoearth.org
According to World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than half a billion people in India who defecates in open water, bushes, and gutters with no privacy. In fact, open defecation happens more in India than in any other parts of the world. But why do they defecate outside? BBC News states that open defecation is an “ingrained cultural norm” that makes it socially acceptable in some society. Households in rural areas usually don’t have toilets installed. And even those who have toilets, some members of the families still choose to defecate in the open.
But cultural norm or not, access to sanitation is one of the country’s challenges that have to be addressed and resolved by the leaders of the country. Open defecation poses serious environmental, health and safety concerns to the people of India. Children fatalities related to fecal contamination reach 200 000 cases in India every year. Women have to get up before dawn to defecate outside in fear of being seen or worse sexually assaulted.
Matt Damon, an American actor, and co-founder of a non-profit organization based in Missouri called Water.org, along with microfinance institutions, facilitated a loan so that people in India can afford to have clean water and “dignity of a toilet.” Water.org has helped 500,000 people acquire microloans. Mostly women and children benefitted from the project. When women find employment and earn an income, they are able to help their family and pay to use public toilets and bathing facilities. The loans also help many women and their family to build toilets with proper drainage inside their houses. Water.org helps empower people India to resolve their own problems.
Photo Credit: water.org
Photo Credit: MattDamonfan.net
Something as simple as access to a proper toilet is something most of us take for granted. Not so for some people. We can help make a difference by donating in organizations like Water.org in order to help people build toilets in their homes. For as little as USD25, you can DONATE and possibly contribute to save a child from dying due to fecal contamination or prevent a woman from being sexually assaulted while defecating in the open. Click this LINK (Water.org) to make a difference in their lives.