Every year, the death of thousands of children in Afghanistan could be prevented by using toilets and washing hands. This is why several NGOs are spending millions of dollars to provide latrines throughout the country.
Some villages in the areas where we run our education projects have been equipped with brand new toilets, but these have shockingly been left unused. People are accustomed to going to the toilet in the open air, although they are likely to fall ill from hygiene-related diseases and are at risk of being attacked by animals, especially at night. Toilet culture has not yet reached the stage of becoming a habit, but this is changing.
Thanks to our preschool program and our very young ambassadors, these toilets are now being used! Marzya, mother of Maria, 5 years old, says “My daughter, since she has been attending pre-school, insists on using the toilet and makes comments about her parents, about how indecent it can be to go outside to go to the toilet next to the house. She has put us all under moral pressure, including our neighbours… so we cannot imagine our life without a latrine“. Aqella, another mother, comments: “Fatima, 6 years old, is one of my 6 children. She uses the latrine and considers that going to the toilet is part of her dignity. She also puts pressure on the whole family! Now the toilet is part of our habits and we are even embarrassed to see how much we have relieved ourselves just by sitting outside our house.”
Nai Qala’s preschool program teaches basic hygiene rules such as hand washing, tooth brushing and the use of sanitary facilities. Thanks to these simple habits, dignity is restored as the whole family can use the toilet and no longer has to squat outside.