Once again, the government commercial played on the radio, asking the impossible. The listeners had heard all about the importance of toilets, and they knew how one would help their village. But they were poor laborers, and buying one was out of the question. The villagers didn’t even have enough money to bribe an official into helping them get one.
Across the region, villagers dealt with the same problems. Women were often molested on their way to the restroom because they had to walk long distances to find private places,. The elderly grew weary from the treks, and monsoon seasons flooded the area, leaving no place at all to go.
“I get up early in the morning to go to the lavatory. …,” said Edhitha. “The place where I go is an open area, and people keep passing by. Sometimes, I have to wait until the people go away.”
Government officials often speak out against using open spaces as restrooms, broadcasting television and radio programs that warn of the spread of disease. Yet for many villagers, the reason for using open spaces is not ignorance or preference, but a lack of other options.
An Unaffordable Civility
“I grew up being a girl who would shy away from going in an open area, but there was no other choice,” Ladhi said.
Most laborers in remote villages earn scarcely enough to live on. The $128 to $160 USD required to build a toilet is more than they will ever be able to save.
“I have been trying to build a toilet, but due to the lack of finances, I could not make one,” said Haashim.
Seeing the need in Edhitha, Ladhi and Haashim’s district, Gospel for Asia missionaries constructed 20 standalone toilets in six villages.
Now, for the first time, these villagers have a sanitary, private place to relieve themselves. The outdoor toilets are also near their homes, so the elderly and sick can easily access them any time of the day, and women no longer have to worry about predators.
More Than a Lavatory
“I am thankful to the church for being concerned for the poor and needy people. … Being poor, we were not able to build a toilet for our girls,” Ladhi said, “but now we all are happy that we can use it at any time. We, as a family, are grateful to the church for this facility.”
Because the toilets are given through the church, they are a constant reminder of God’s love. With fellowships located a short distance from each one, finding out more about that love is as easy as using the restroom.