Each year, waterborne diseases afflict hundreds of millions of people, primarily those living without safe, accessible water. Despite making great strides in the past 20 years to end waterborne diseases, there is still much to be done.
Over the years of working with the Orang Asli (OA) community, we found numerous OA villages in the Pekan and Rompin districts of Pahang with little to no access to adequate sanitation facilities. A fundamental aspect of well-being, sanitation is crucial to protecting human health and extending life spans.
The remote location of many OA villages, compounded by the lack of access to clean water, makes it nearly impossible for the villagers to secure access to proper sanitation facilities. As a result, many continue to practice open defecation.
Open defecation not only puts the whole community at higher risk of waterborne illnesses but also compromises the safety and well-being of women and girls.
As many Orang Asli villages are located near water bodies that serve as their water source, the widespread contamination of food and water due to open defecation often exposes the villagers to devastating illnesses.⠀
In their errand to collect water for daily use, women and girls , in particular, are more susceptible to waterborne illnesses due to their close proximity to polluted water sources. Their safety are also compromised as many would often walk to nearby fields at night to defecate in private. This threatens their safety and make them vulnerable to harassment and assault.
Without proper sanitation facilities, OA villagers are trapped in a vicious cycle of disease, poverty and hardship.
When villagers fall ill from waterborne diseases, they can become burdened with health issues that not only impact their long-term health and well-being but also opportunities for education, income-generating capacities, nutrition and security.
To ensure that OA villagers are able to have access to sanitation facilities, we are raising RM30,000 to build four toilet stalls and two shower rooms in Kg. Terubing and Kg. Binjai respectively.
The Washroom Project will provide 170 OA villagers with access to fundamental sanitation facilities. This will ensure that OA villagers have the right to live in safety and with dignity.
The right to water and sanitation can only be fully realised when everyone is able to safely access proper sanitation facilities and services. To read more about The Washroom Project and how you can help us provide fundamental sanitation facilities to our fellow OA friends, visit https://www.theincitement.com/project/302/ .
Lauren Chew, Communications Officer