Earlier this year we asked Kiwis to help raise money to build toilets for families who have none.

Together we raised $73,813 to build toilets and ensure safe water supply in the communities where ChildFund works in Kenya, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Zambia, and Vietnam.

Last year we began working in Cao Bang province in northern Vietnam, where we have had great success. The communities we work with are very remote and most people live a traditional lifestyle as subsistence farmers. Toilets have been virtually non-existent. Children and their families were forced to ‘go’ in the open, in any spot they could find, posing serious health risks.

Life is now changing for children in Cao Bang.

The latest project report from our ChildFund partner office in Vietnam shows just how much progress has been made. In the last three months, 1,000 families from seven communities attended special training about the risks of relieving themselves in the open and the benefits of using toilets.

ChildFund trained local community members and taught them about safe hygiene and sanitation practices. Those people then took responsibility to teach what they had learned to families in their own communities.

One of the community leaders is Mr Dinh Koai, age 54. Mr Dinh has volunteered his time to work in the water and sanitation programme. He explains why he wanted to get involved, “Though quite busy, I decided to work for the project as I found it good for our villagers because it improves the environment to bring good health to us and help us improve life. I will continue to participate in the project no matter how busy I am.”

After attending the training sessions, up to 70% of all the families went home and built their own simple latrines! Almost 700 households now have basic toilets, thanks to your support.

Mr Dinh is impressed by how the community has taken responsibility for improving their situation, “The great thing was that people started to stop open defecation, and they even built latrines.”

Raising awareness of the dangers of poor sanitation practices and the benefits of using toilets is only the beginning. In the coming months, ChildFund will provide these families with the skills and materials to build more permanent toilets.

A toilet may seem like a simple thing but it can change a family’s life.

5 year old Mai and her family received help from ChildFund to build their own household toilet. Her father, Cai, explains just what a difference a toilet can make: “Having a latrine makes my life more comfortable and the environment cleaner. Before, I had to walk a long way to relieve myself; now I have a latrine right next to my house. We also treat the waste and use it as fertilizer for crops. Thank you for helping us and providing us with latrines.”

Read more about ChildFund's current Urgent Appeals and find out how to help children in need today.

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