In one of the many slums of South Asia, a small gathering took shape. Around 30 families—all residents of the slum—assembled while several others darted around, making last-minute preparations or chatting with those gathered. All were here for the inauguration of toilets provided by Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers for the residents—an unusual but beneficial gift.
Preventable Diseases, Preventable Medical Crises
This wasn’t the first time Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers had helped this community.
“Previously, with their help and the act of kindnesses,many poor people in this area received blankets,” said Sakarie, the village head. “They also provided water through Jesus Wells, [and now] people are free from their water scarcity problem.”
As well as these issues, the families also endured constant attack from illnesses. No matter what type of disease it was, medical care was difficult to come by for the families, either too expensive or too far away. Malaria, typhoid and dengue harried the residents, particularly during the rainy season. But it was the hygiene-related illnesses that truly devastated the community. Both viral and diarrheal illnesses would emerge occasionally, each outbreak reaping a toll on the villagers—especially the children.
These families, like 2.3 billion other individuals, lived without access to basic sanitation services. Without a toilet, their only option was to defecate in the open—like nearly 892 million people across the globe.
Degrading and dangerous, open defecation is often the only option of relief these families have. The physical risks posed by using an empty field or narrow alleyway are numerous—from hygiene risks to dangers from wild animals or individuals with despicable intents.
Stepping in to Help Shield Against Disease
Offering a safe—and private—space for the families to relieve themselves would protect them in more ways than one. That was why Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers provided toilets for these 30 families. A designated sanitary area would help guard them from viral and diarrheal diseases and preserve their finances from being drained by preventable medical crises. Their children could grow up without the fear of disease hanging over them.
“And now [the workers] have provided a sanitation facility, too,” said Sakarie, thankful for the Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers’ help. “I personally thank the [workers] for considering the need of the poor people of this slum and taking initiative to help them.”