Client Story: Meet Augulia Cemeran
SOIL client, Augulia Cemeran at 2020 World Toilet Day event.
If you’re one of the 3.3 million people living in urban Haiti who does not have a toilet, you have very few options available to you. Haitian cities, like many rapidly growing urban areas globally, have no sewer system. Flush toilets are expensive and mostly unaffordable for impoverished households in that they require a costly septic tank, a steady supply of water, and are not always suitable for high water table areas. A more common option, pit latrines, are also expensive to construct, susceptible to flooding, and do not safely treat waste . To bridge the gap in accessible sanitation options, SOIL has been working to provide household toilets to communities in Cap-Haitien for over a decade.
SOIL is committed to empowering the communities we serve and creating a dignified, safe and satisfactory service for all of our clients – and we love hearing our clients’ feedback! Which is why we were thrilled to be able to recently sit down with one of our long time clients, Augulia Cemeran, to learn more about her experience with SOIL’s EkoLakay toilet service and the impact it has had on her family.
Augulia and her family have lived in the Aviasyon neighborhood of Cap-Haitien for 14 years. Married with two daughters, she works as a retailer and is also an avid gardener, growing potatoes, plantains, peppers and a variety of other vegetables at her home. Her family has been using SOIL’s EkoLakay service for the past 7 years, and she explains that “having an EkoLakay toilet means a lot to me.” Prior to having SOIL’s toilet, they didn’t have a toilet at home and her family used to have to ask their neighbor to use their toilet.
Augulia heard about SOIL from another local organization that conducts cholera training and educational programs on how to keep children safe from disease. She noted that SOIL’s solution has been a life-changing service for her in that it brought a new level of comfort into her life and she is now able to stop asking neighbors to use their toilet. She went on to highlight that since signing up for the EkoLakay service, she talked to her other neighbors about it as well and they have now all signed up for household toilets. Augulia noted the importance of having an in-home toilet “that helps people with low income to have access to clean and safe toilets to use so that people do not have to resort to open defecation.”
For families like Augulia’s, the reality of not having an in-home toilet means that you must resort to shared or public toilets, or no toilet at all. It places an extreme and unnecessary hardship on already vulnerable communities – leaving people without access to safe sanitation more vulnerable to disease, more at risk for sexual assault, particularly for women and girls, and living with a greater sense of anxiety. The impact of poor sanitation options is far-reaching and long-lasting – creating social and economic barriers that can be impossible to overcome.
SOIL is committed to advocating for and providing access to safe sanitation that supports dignified living for everyone. We are grateful for Augulia’s willingness to share her family’s story with us. In fact, she is so proud of SOIL’s solution that she joined us to celebrate World Toilet Day this year at our office and gave an incredible testimony. You can view the video in creole here: SOIL Client Testimonial
SOIL depends on individual donations from people like you to fund our lifesaving, earth-restoring sanitation services in Haiti. Please consider supporting SOIL today.
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