“Dónde está el baño?”(Where is the bathroom?) is a phrase Canadian travelers to the Dominican Republic learn. But have you ever imagined what your life would be like if there wasn’t a “baño” in your own home?
Many residents of the community of Barrio 41 have lived for decades without toilet facilities. By necessity, that means defecation in open fields, poor sanitation and effects on health. Human rights injustice, you say? We agree.
By the end of this week, 30 families in this community will have fully functioning “baños”.
In a huge collaboration involving neighbourhood residents, Rayjon, the local Dominican Public Works Department, and development experts from Puente, these families won’t have to face that injustice any more.
Barrio 41 is the same community that was featured in our recent podcast episode. Local leaders here have been putting their heads (and resources!) together to solve some complex problems. Most recently they completed a project to provide cement floors to 42 families that had been living with unhygenic dirt floors for decades. As a community, they voted on baños as their next priority.
Measurements had to be taken, volunteers confirmed, workteams assembled, materials ordered, and training provided. The local Dominican Public Works Department sent a full crew of workers to assist!
Then the work began!
Our partners at Puente have an established (and efficient!) system of construction for “Puente Potties.”
With financial support from Rayjon, Friends of the DR, and 27% of contributions coming from the community itself in the form of labour, 30 baños are underway!
Proud homeowners and their families now have fully functioning baños! We are grateful for your support to Rayjon, which empowers capable and innovative Dominican and Haitian leaders to do this work themselves.
PS–they aren’t done yet! Stay tuned to hear what BIG project the community of Barrio 41 has planned for the fall!
PPS–That beautiful frilly toilet seat cover?It was hand-made by one of the residents who received (and helped build) the bathroom. She just graduated from a sewing class for women (also supported by Rayjon)! Well done! Felicidades!