I am very excited about November 19th: World Toilet Day. I learned about this amazing day by watching a short documentary while on an airplane. See the 3 minute video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrCvrAuW5VU. He calls himself “Mr. Toilet” but his real name is Jack Sim. His life motto: “Live a useful life.”
Mr. Jack Sim has made it his life’s mission to bring culturally sensitive toilets to communities around the world. Sanitation, or the lack of it, continues to threaten the health of communities all over the world. Lack of sanitation limits economic opportunities for people already burdened with oppressive poverty. Clean water requires good sanitation practices. Lack of clean water is a world wide problem.
40% of world population does not have access to a simple toilet
90% of all the surface water in India is contaminated with feces.
UN declared sanitation a human right.
2.5 billion people do not have a clean toilet.
Investing $1 in sanitation generates a return of $5
“World Toilet Day is an international day of action that aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge. World Toilet Day brings together different groups, such as media, the private sector, development organizations and civil society in a global movement to advocate for safe toilets. Since its inception in 2001, World Toilet Day has become an important platform to demand action from governments and to reach out to wider audiences by showing that toilets can be fun and sexy as well as vital to life.” (www.worldtoiletday.org)
http://www.worldtoiletday.org/learn_detail.php?id=3 This link will take you to an article about how safe toilets help keep girls in school. It’s been noted that societies that educate girls do better economically.
Sanitation was probably not something Jesus thought much about. However, I think he’d be a supporter of World Toilet Day because it’s purpose is to bring basic services to the ones he called “the least of these”. Most of us take for granted our access to a toilet, until there is a plumbing problem. Backpacking every year reminds me how fortunate I am to have access to plumbing. The solar toilets at high sierra camps are a real luxury.
Church World Service is an ecumenical outreach that receives some of our mission dollars. Building toilets is one of the many, many mission activities in which they engage. So next time you flush, give thanks to God for the work we are doing with others to bring sanitation, clean water and a better economic future to people we will never meet.