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Villagers in Clarkabad in the Punjab province of Pakistan will be waking up to a new facility that will freshen up their mornings and bring safety to a large number of vulnerable women, after British Pakistani Christian Association installed two new toilet facilities. The two facilities will have a clean water source as they have been fitted with a hand pump that will have a shelf life of at least 7 years.
It is always difficult for clean-water programmes like this to materialise in Pakistan due to planning restrictions and the expensive cost of land in Pakistan. However, BPCA enters into local contracts with home-owners willing to gain a free toilet and water-pump facility on the basis that once installed they will give permission to other villagers to use the facilities without restriction. We ensure these contracts are agreed and signed
in the presence of other villagers and provide our lead officers contact details to all so that disputes can be agreed through independent arbitration.
So far having installed close to 30 similar facilities we have seen each owner adhere to the agreed commitments.
We make sure there is incentive for homeowners to comply by providing our assurance that if each pump is made accessible to other members of the public we will be responsible for repairs and replacements, moreover the contract they sign maintains the equipment in our possession on loan a safeguard that prevents desire for deviation.
With these particular installations we were extremely fortunate as a Christian landowner who had some excess land allowed one of our installations to be placed on land remote from his home, in an area surrounded by Christian families without such facilities. We believe at least 70 families will be able to use this facility and will be able to do so without causing too much aggravation to the donor of the land Fazal Masih (53) and his family, whilst also being extremely accessible at all hours. We added a Washroom facility at this location so people can also enjoy the use of a bucket bath using water from the installed water-pump.
The other facility is built on to the house of an old couple who always wished to have a clean water facility and toilet but could never have afforded the cost for installation, on the pittance they were earning as farm labourers. The couple Younas Masih (63) and Noreen Bibi(59) have no children and often felt isolated and alone. Having the facility attached to their house has not only made the lives of Younas and Noreen more comfortable, safe and hygenic but has also put them in touch with more of the community.
Our pumps are fitted with a clean water filter that will ensure drinking water is of a high quality of purity. Previous projects have evidenced that projects like these help reduce the high illness rates in the local area and the low life expectancy of 55 years. Diseases such as Cholera, and Typhoid still exist as a major threat for this and many other rural communities within Pakistan.
Currently local people drink from streams, puddles or irrigation fields – the same fields they use as public toilets. To filter cleaner water they wave their hands through the water about to be consumed to remove silt, others place a handkerchief or cloth over the water to be drunk and slurp water through it. Both mechanisms
are highly ineffective and leave them prone to illness and disease. The pump water can also be used for washing clothes and for personal hygiene purposes. We hope to advise people to use toothbrushes and toothpaste to improve dental quality and will provide a quantity of supplies to start with, with training on proper use. Until now people have either forgone dental hygiene or use Miswak which is ineffective. We believe this will reduce dental cavities and prolong the life of natural teeth.In addition we hope to advise people on the importance of washing themselves, especially their hands before and after eating, and proper use of the toilet. We will provide a supply of soaps and some guidance on how to use it and the associated hygiene benefits. Advice will be given on how users can set up a temporary shelter with curtains for private bucket showering.
We hope to develop this pump project to include the installation of an additional toilet with a bathing room facility (bucket bathing) on the land provided by Fazal Masih and a bathing facility at Younas and Noreen’s home. The total cost for this project would be an additional £650, and we hope to raise this with your help. Purpose built washroom facilities will provide a safer option than the current use of open fields as toilets and rivers and streams for bathing. Such practices has already led to the kidnap and rape of young vulnerable Christian girls one example is the condemnable kidnap and rape of Sherish and Farzana (click here). Many of whom end up in forced Islamic marriage, a process which Dawn newspaper quoted 700 Christian women and girls suffer every year in Pakistan (click here). Help us win back some dignity for long suffering Christians.