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Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Aria's Story: A week in the life

My name is Aria, I am thirteen years old, and I live in a remote village in Rutana, Burundi with my parents Patrick and Nadine, and my younger brothers Jean-Claude and Remy.

My country is one of the poorest countries in the world, mostly because of a violent conflict which didn't end until the mid 2000's. When my family returned to our village from the refugee camp in Tanzania they found that everything had been destroyed. There were burnt out houses, the ruins of schools and healthcare centres, contaminated water sources, non-existent sanitation facilities and overgrown fields without a single crop to eat or sell.

It has been very hard for my family and our village, especially since sometimes they cannot work because of the illness they get from drinking dirty water from the river. This means that many people get diarrhea, but since there is only one toilet many miles away, disease spreads quickly. It is a dangerous cycle.

Through Toilet Twinning, organisations Cord and Tearfund are combatting this deadly issue by helping the community build clean and safe latrines in villages like ours with money raised by people twinning their own toilets from their home, school or work. They even get a certificate and a GPS location of the toilet they have twinned with!

I am sharing my story through a series of messages on Twitter and Facebook all of next week to highlight World Water Day on Tuesday 22nd March, and the plight of the millions of people like me around the world, who do not have access to clean and safe sanitation, and who suffer because of it.

Please follow my story next week, and help village like mine have a better future by twinning your toilet so that ours can have somewhere safe to go to the loo.

*Aria and her family are fictional, but represent very real and serious situations in countries like Burundi, and are based on case studies of real families. Please follow her story to understand the everyday dangers people like her face because of the lack of good sanitation and clean water in their communities.

Photo credit: Simon Vasey/Cord

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