When I was in India this past May with Mom Bloggers for Social Good, I saw firsthand how safe drinking water and sanitation needs impact people living in extreme poverty. I spent a scorching afternoon with temperatures climbing almost to 120 degrees Fahrenheit touring one of WaterAid’s work sites, an unauthorized slum named the Vivekananda Camp.
At this one location, the people had been fortunate to finally receive somewhere safe and hygienic to use the bathroom. A community toilet compound. Although the slum did not have running water, at least it had somewhere people could go to take care of their bodily needs and help eliminate the spread of deadly diseases and the horrible humiliation of open defecation.
As I stood outside the Community Toilet Complex (CTC), I couldn’t help but rest my eyes on a painfully slow-moving woman. A woman who had undoubtedly spent her entire life living within the confines of a slum. She was hunched over and bent on her cane and slowly dragged her feet across the ground, one step at a time, as she left the Community Toilet Complex we had just toured.