The loo that brought health and wealth for Aunty Vichet


Not having a toilet can be very expensive. Aunty Vichet* is a widow living with her mother and teenage niece in Veay Chhneah village, about 37km south of Phnom Penh City in Cambodia. Together the family was spending the equivalent of $150-200 USD (£112-£150) almost every year in medical expenses. The repeated illnesses in the family were a direct result of having no latrine and having to go to the toilet outside in the open near their house.

In Cambodia this arrangement is not as shocking and unusual as it sounds. Just under 20 per cent of people live below the poverty line in the country, and this often stops people having basic necessities like adequate sanitation. A lack of latrines is the most common factor related to poor health and sickness in the country.

But things changed when Tearfund’s partner, World Renew, began supporting Aunty Vichet’s local church, which selected her to be a self-help group member. As a member Aunty Vichet was invited to attend meetings and training on many topics, including health education.

After training, she and her family decided they wanted to build their own latrine and apply what she had learnt about health and sanitation. World Renew helped by providing some of the necessary labour and materials. Now the family gets sick far less often. Aunty Vichet also saved the money they would have spent on health care to fulfil her long-time dream of starting a small business, and this helps her continue paying for her niece’s education.

Thank you so much for supporting our work so that hygiene programmes like this can reach out and help the people that need it most. For this family a humble loo really has been the answer to health and wealth.

* Name has been changed to protect identity


  • Pray for further improvement in hygiene and sanitation for families across Cambodia and ask that Tearfund partners will be able to reach even more people with their work.

  • Ask for blessing on Aunty Vichet’s business and her efforts to keep her niece in school.

  • Lift up people in Cambodia who have received new facilities and training. Ask that they will continue the new practices they’ve learnt and promote them to others.

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