There are 2.3 billion people around the world living without a toilet. As well as taking away your dignity, privacy and safety; not having a toilet can be deadly – diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation kills 315,000 children every year.
‘We expected to die’
Many of those lacking toilet facilities are people who have been displaced by conflict or persecution, like 50-year-old Nour* from Iraq.
Nour and her family were forced to flee their home in August 2014, and have been living in a camp ever since. Sitting in her tent, she shares her story with us.
‘Our story is very painful. We left our homes, our relatives and our lives behind us. We ran under cover of darkness, barefoot and without taking anything but our clothes and we could hear the gunshots and mortars.
‘People there were dying of thirst and hunger. We were forced to eat the leaves of the trees, and the children were eating the soil. We expected to die and we had no hope.’
Dignity and hope
Nour and her family travelled until they reached an informal refugee camp. ‘We used to have to wash in our tent and the toilet was made of wood and blankets with no roof, so we had to use open spaces most of the time,’ she says. ‘My daughters and I were ashamed.’
Tearfund supported Nour and her family with proper latrines, showers, a household water tank and a hand-washing station. These not only improved their sanitation and health situation, but also helped provide dignity and hope for the family.
‘Thanks to Tearfund we are satisfied, and we are very grateful. Tearfund protected us from many bad things and did good work for people who did not have toilets or a water tank.
‘I wish to express my gratitude and thanks to anyone who has donated to help us. I thank Tearfund for their assistance and I would like you to continue your hard work for people in need.’
*Name has been changed to protect identity
- Pray for Nour and her family, for their continued safety.
- Lift up the nation of Iraq, where there has been near continuous conflict for more than 14 years. Pray for lasting peace and security.
- Thank God for all those providing toilets for people in need; pray that God will bless and multiply this work.