Kirsty’s bit

wishing you God’s peace and love this Christmas,

from Kirsty and Dan xxx

This is the closest you’ll get to a Christmas card from Dan and I this year, please don’t be offended! We bought a toilet instead!

Let me explain…

Last year we decided that we could say to people’s faces what a card says, and save the environment a bit, but more significantly, put the money to better use.

If you’ve ever been camping, you will come to experience a real appreciation for toilets! While going for a skoosh in a bush while camping is fine – living around raw sewage is smelly and dangerous.

Across the world, 2.5 billion people have no option but to “go” outside– that’s about 40% of the world’s population who don’t have somewhere safe, clean and hygienic to go to the loo.

· Every minute, three children under the age of five die because of dirty water and poor sanitation (WHO)

· more than 50% of hospital beds in developing countries have people who are sick with an illness caused by dirty water or lack of sanitation

· This issue also affects women more significantly than men, they’re at a higher risk getting bitten by snakes as they squat in the grass to go to the toilet, and a potential target for sexual assault.

· In Africa, half of young girls who drop out of school do so because they need to collect water – often from many miles away – or because the school hasn’t got a basic toilet.

These statistics shocked us hugely. And that’s where Toilet Twinning comes in. Just like twinning a town, a link is created between your toilet and a toilet that has recently been built, and enables another toilet to be built. And the good news is that for every £1 spent on a water and sanitation programme, £8 is returned through saved time, increased productivity and reduced health costs.

The form that link takes is a framed picture of the toilet that can be displayed- the one we bought last year is in the church’s disabled toilet off the corridor.

ToilettwinIt looks a little like this.

It doesn’t look completely like this as Toilet Twinning work with communities when they build them, and educate them about the effects of good hygiene. If this step isn’t done and a strange new building that appears to have come from nowhere, that apparently you’re supposed to POO in- people get embarrassed and suspicious- after all- people would know what you were doing when you were in there!
However by getting local people to build it, the community have ownership of it, and it meets their cultural expectations. It takes away the mystery and it means the toilet looks like other buildings in the area.

So I do hope you understand that you won’t get a card from me this year either. I do wish you every blessing this Christmas- but my money is going elsewhere.

If you also find that your house is being filled with things you don’t need this Christmas- why not consider putting something different on your Christmas list.

To twin a toilet is £60 www.toilettwinning.org/

Oxfam also do ‘gifts’ that can be purchased from their shops and online www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/oxfam-unwrapped Safe water for 10 people is £10:  Fix a well is £22 and they have many other alternatives like giving a goat!

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