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A toilet at the end of our lives

Two men standing outside a stone building

Mohammed outside his home with a CARE staff member

Mohammed outside his home with a CARE staff member

Mohammed Hezzam is 89 years old and lives alone with his wife. They have no sons or daughters and they are very poor. Mohammed has no income and lives in a rudimentary house in a distant village in Mahwit governorate in Yemen. He is unable to work due to a permanent disability in his leg which has made their lives much harder.

Sitting under the shadow of a tree Mohammed spends his days thinking about who will give them food or who will bring some medicine to heal his broken leg. Neither he nor his wife have skills to help them earn money, but his wife tries to do some farm work to support them.

A man standing in front of a rock wall
Mohammed outside his home

In such villages as these, some people have limited income, and others like Mohammed have no reliable income. In this difficult situation people do not look after themselves properly. They do not care much about their health or nutrition and so they suffer from diseases like cholera and diarrhoea. Mohammed says: “I used to defecate in open places, under trees or behind rocks. I suffer from bad eyesight so I could not easily defecate because I needed to go out in the middle of the night which was a serious challenge for me.”

Fortunately for Mohammed and his wife, with funding from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), CARE intervened with a water, sanitation and hygiene project in Jabel Almahwit district. CARE constructed household latrines with handwashing facilities, and distributed chlorine tablets to purify water as well as water containers. People like Mohammed also received instructions on good personal hygiene practices.

“Finally, at the end of my life I have got a toilet,” says Mohammed joyfully. “It is a great help for me and my wife, particularly at our late age. Now we don’t have to worry about going outside to defecate. Our latrine is available to use at any time.”

A man standing next to a pile of rocks
Mohammed with his new household latrine
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