Every once in awhile, we need to be reminded how very lucky we are!
If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you’ll probably recall that I’m an avid Kiva lender. Kiva is a non-profit organization that allows a person to lend as little as $25 to a specific low-income entrepreneur in one of 83 countries around the world. Though Kiva provides loans to both men and women, I choose to lend to women who are borrowing money to purchase specific items that they will use to generate income that will help them support their families and educate their children. As each of these women makes a monthly payment on her loan, my share of that payment is deposited in my Kiva account and I receive an email notifying me of my updated balance. I could withdraw the money at any time but instead, as soon as my balance reaches $25, I search the Kiva database and choose another woman to lend to. Today, I made my 30th loan!
Sokhem is a garment factory worker and mother of 5 who lives in a rural area of Cambodia. Together, she, her husband and their oldest child earn a combined income of approximately $13 a day. Sokhem requested a Kiva loan to purchase some cows and start a breeding program, but it was actually one of her long term goals that caught my eye and prompted me to help her today. She hopes eventually to be able to build a bathroom with a toilet in her home.
Can you begin to wrap your head around the idea of raising 5 children in a home without a toilet? I can’t.
Did you know that this Wednesday, November 19th is World Toilet Day, a day set aside to draw attention to the one-third of humanity who, like Sokhem, lack basic toilet and sanitation facilities? I didn’t either until I read this morning’s Edmonton Journal article just before checking my email and discovering that I had the necessary funds to make another Kiva loan.
World Toilet Day! It’s hard not to laugh, isn’t it? Sadly, when you read the statistics, it’s not a laughing matter.
- One billion people – a sixth of the world’s population – defecate in the open because they simply have nowhere else to go.
- In India alone, 600 million people – about half the country’s population – lack toilets in their homes.
- 1.5 million children die annually from diarrhea that could be prevented by simply having clean toilet facilities.
- People living in many towns and villages in Africa and elsewhere run the risk of being bitten by scorpions and venomous snakes every time they relieve themselves in fields and woods.
- One billion people get their water from sources contaminated by human and animal feces.