A year ago, while meeting with the teachers from the JONG after-school program, I learned that many of the teachers do not have toilets. I learned this from Anunsia, who, when asked what the needs were in their villages, giggled and spoke so softly that we had to move next to her to hear. “We need bathrooms,” she giggled quietly with embarrassment.
That’s how I learned that about half our teachers still use a bush to relieve themselves. This exposes our teachers to numerous dangers, they taught me. They fear scorpions and insects and snakes that dwell among the bushes. In fact, one of the after-school teachers died of a snake bite using a bush at night.
During daylight hours the teachers are vulnerable to sexual harassment and even assault, so women relieve themselves before dawn and after dusk, and just hold on throughout the day. This can cause health issues, in addition to simply being painful.
We therefore embarked on our own “bathroom crusade” for the JONG teachers and their families – starting with Anunsia! Now, she says, she no longer has fear when she uses the toilet, and her face beams with gratitude!