Toilets Save Lives in Vietnam

 This Season of Giving, you can double your impact by helping some of the great NGOs on OneVietnam Network with their matching grant challenges. As part of a holiday special, the NGOs are sharing their thoughts and reasons for dedicating themselves to Vietnam’s poor with you. The first article comes from Children of Vietnam. Check it out and chip in to their matching grant challenge!

Khai Tay family with new toilet. Photo by Richard Brummet. (2012)

“Go around” is a phrase that very aptly summarizes what it means to live without a toilet. In the small rural village of Khai Tay, there were many households without toilet facilities–not very sanitary, convenient, or allowing for much dignity. This limited access to decent sanitation puts millions of children throughout Vietnam at risk of contracting diarrhoeal diseases. In Vietnam, an estimated 6.5 per cent of the population resort to open defecation and close to half of the population in rural areas do not use sanitation facilities, according to UNICEF.

Families must use the surrounding fields and streams to relieve themselves—the same water sources they use for cooking, cleaning and bathing. This forced unhygienic practice exposes all of the villagers to health risks caused by flies, mosquitoes, and water pollution. Diarrhoeal diseases, parasite infestation, cholera and other illnesses are intertwined with unsanitary environment and are a deadly combination, especially for children under five and the very old.

The Khai Tay families earn on average about $35 per month as hired farm labor. Our goal was to construct toilets for as many families as possible, and with some very kind donors we had sufficient funds for 17 families to construct the toilets. What a great gift! But there is more…when the families learned this news they were delighted but realized other families still needed toilets. They met to discuss this situation, and with much volunteer labor, they were able to stretch these dollars to include 3 more families!

That is what community is all about—stretching from half way around the world to just a few feet down the road!

Children of Vietnam has just announced a campaign to give the most basic of needs to children and their families…an indoor toilet. To kick off this campaign, 9 families have been identified for which an indoor toilet will have a profound impact.  Each toilet costs $315. The total goal is $2,835 to give all 9 families a chance to avoid parasites and diarrhoeal diseases, keep children in school, keep parents working, and retain dignity.

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