The brightest smiles


Today is our second day in Yangon in Myanmar, but the first day to see the programmes. This place, for me, is mysterious.The buildings are old and different from those in Hong Kong. This is all I know about Myanmar.

Our first stop is visiting the Myanmar head office of Save the Children. Here, the Head of Programmes, Thanda Kyaw, and their project manager Yin Yin Chaw gave us a briefing and introduction of the current status of child rights and their child protection work in Myanmar.

Head of Programme of Save the Children, Thanda Kyaw, gave us a detailed briefing before we meet the children - by Gillian

Head of Programmes of Save the Children, Thanda Kyaw, gives us a detailed briefing before we meet the children – by Gillian Lau

After that, we went to a community learning centre to meet with the children’s group, child protection groups and some former child soldiers. When we got out from the car, we were greeted by the children and group members. They welcomed us with big smiles, fresh roses, banners and yummy local cakes.

We were welcomed by the big bright smiles - by Gillian

We were welcomed by big bright smiles – by Gillian Lau

On this IWitness trip, I expect to witness the impact and how IKEA Foundation and Save the Children have helped children in Myanmar. We started with the first group, which is formed by eight children aged 12-17 years old. This group is a mixed group of kids who are in school, out of school or working, as well as children who have survived being trafficked. My first impression was that they were very friendly and cheerful. They send out a very positive vibe, which our entire group could feel and it touched us deeply. When we started the discussion, I found them all very eager to learn about children’s rights. The children themselves were, to my surprise, very passionate to know more about children’s law. The children’s group try their very best to convince parents and children in the community about why children’s rights are so important.

What impressed me the most is that they are very determined about what they want to be in the future. For example, some wanted to be a doctor and provide free medical service for children. Another child wants to set up a factory where children can work and learn, but which will never violate children’s rights, and will earn profit for the neighbourhood.

Compared to the children in Hong Kong, the place where I am from, this group of children are much more mature, confident and positive. Although they sometimes fail, they never give up and keep working on saving the other children.

Members of the Children Group are cherish to join the gathering - by Gillian Lau

Members of the children’s group are eager to join the gathering – by Gillian Lau

The next group was formed by seven former child soldiers aged between 15-24 years old. When they were sharing their life stories, they opened up and it sounded like they were telling some other’s people’s stories. But the facts remain, they had not volunteered to be child soldiers. In some cases, they were lied to and sent to rural areas and forced to join the state army. They suffered from life-threatening issues – like losing their lives, not able to go home anymore, being locked up and escaping, getting caught again and punished. When they are rescued or escaped, and are back in the community, Save the Children supports them to start a new life by teaching them life skills – such as giving them a trishaw (a three-wheeled bicycle for transporting passengers) to start a new living – and also providing psychological counselling programmes. With the help from Save the Children, they are confident to stand up, share their stories and raise awareness of child soldiers.

After hearing the unbelievable stories from the former child soldiers, we met with the child protection group, which is formed by 15 representatives selected by Save the Children to address child protection issues in the communities. In Myanmar, there is no child protection mechanism in local communities. In order to address this gap and encourage communities to enforce children’s rights, child protection groups target their response and prevent child protection issues. Membership is voluntary and they are usually formed by community leaders, authorities, teachers, women’s associations and parents. To support the child protection group, Save the Children provides them with numerous trainings, including leadership, communication, management, problem solving, risk management, law and legal procedures, and positive discipline skills.

I still remember the conversation we had with the children’s group. The children were so happy to share their stories and eager to join the gathering. When we were about to leave, the children and everyone else were eager to take selfies with each other. Their hugs are so warm and intimate. Their smiles and roses will always stay in my mind.

The children are happy receiving the small gifts by IKEA - by Gillian Lau

The children are happy receiving the small gifts by IKEA – by Gillian Lau

Their smiles and roses will always stay in my mind - by Gillian Lau

Their smiles and roses will always stay in my mind – by Gillian Lau

About Gillian Lau

I have been working in IKEA Hong Kong Shatin store for more than 10 years. I love children. I’m interested in photography and travelling. I have worked for different voluntary work. Through helping others, it widen my views and experience. 我在香港IKEA沙田分店做店務員已工作十年。我很喜歡小朋友,也熱愛拍照,旅行。之前做過不同類型的義工,透過他們的經歷令自己的視野更廣闊。

Myanmar, here we come!


I will soon be heading to Myanmar – some call it Burma – the second-largest country in Southeast Asia, where women of the ethnic minority tribe Kayan Lahwi are well known for wearing brass coil neck rings, appearing to lengthen their necks.

However, I am not going for vacation. Together with my co-workers from IKEA Hong Kong, we are going on an IWitness trip with Save the Children to Myanmar to witness how the IKEA Foundation is providing a better everyday life for children.

Myanmar, here we come! - by Flora Chan

Myanmar, here we come! – by Flora Chan

Myanmar’s population of over 50 million makes it the 40th largest country in the world. Despite Myanmar’s natural wealth in jade and gems, oil, natural gas and other mineral resources, it has a low level of human development – ranking 150 out of 187 countries – according to the Human Development Index as of 2013.

Officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar - commonly shortened to Myanma – is bordered by Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand - by Flora Chan

Officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar – commonly shortened to Myanmar – is bordered by Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand – by Flora Chan

Children in Myanmar face significant child rights violations with exploitation, such as discrimination, forced migration, trafficking, and underage recruitment into armed forces, issues that are experienced especially by minority children and youth. Children’s access to quality education, adequate healthcare and economic security is increasingly threatened.

Getting ready: Save the Children’s Hong Kong office gave us an introduction briefing including the information of Myanmar and the current children projects there - by Flora Chan

Getting ready: Save the Children’s Hong Kong office gave us an introduction briefing including information about Myanmar and the current children’s projects there – by Flora Chan

In the next few days, we will follow Save the Children Myanmar’s team to meet with different children’s groups and local child-protection groups from different project sites, plus the head office of Save the Children in Myanmar. I look forward to sharing this journey with as many co-workers and friends as I can. Stay tuned!

Ready, set, go! - by Flora Chan

Ready, set, go! – by Flora Chan

 

About Flora Chan

Happiness is free, and at the same time, priceless. What’s better than seeing people’s smiley faces with happiness glowing on them? I am blessed to travel to Myanmar with my great Hong Kong team. Stay tuned and let’s witness how IKEA Foundation is helping to improve a better everyday life for the children in Myanmar. In my normal days, I am from Marketing in IKEA Hong Kong and take care of social media and digital marketing. I love music, arts, travelling and sun bathing. In the summer you can probably find me on the beach enjoying the sunlight. Cheers!

How Save the Children protects children from exploitation in Myanmar


Our next group of IWitness Global Citizens is travelling to Myanmar to visit some incredible projects we fund through the Soft Toys for Education campaign. Thanda Kyaw, who coordinates Save the Children’s project Helping to Reduce Children’s Vulnerability to Exploitation, is here to explain some of the hurdles Myanmar children have to overcome.

Thanda

Thanda

One-third of Myanmar’s 53 million people live in extreme poverty. The country possesses vast natural resources but is ranked only 149 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index. As the country opens up to the world, it continues to face a host of social and economic challenges, including poverty, a growing HIV/AIDS epidemic, and strained health and education systems.

Children in Myanmar face significant dangers. Minority children and youth are especially vulnerable to discrimination, forced migration, trafficking and underage recruitment into the armed forces. Children are targeted because they are easily manipulated, cheap, easier to control (and abuse), and because they look to adults to protect them. Children have told us that abuse, discrimination and lack of inclusive opportunities for disabled children are all key issues. Mechanisms for protecting children against exploitation are in their early stages, and that is why child protection is a top priority for Save the Children.

Children playing in a rural village

Children playing in a rural village

We have tackled many of these issues by helping communities understand the long-term detrimental effect that abuse, exploitation and neglect can have on children.

Save the Children’s project Helping to Reduce Children’s Vulnerability to Exploitation, implemented with support from the IKEA Foundation for three years, is helping children and adults in three Myanmar townships better protect those around them.

Khin Khin, 8 years old

Khin Khin, 8 years old

Over the course of the project, there has been a 172% rise in the number of sexual abuse cases reported in our project areas, highlighting increased awareness of the crime. To prevent sexual abuse happening in the first place, we have formed and trained child-protection groups made up of community members. These groups have run sessions with mothers and children on how to stay safe, advocated that law enforcement officers control sales of pornographic DVDs, and lobbied parents to stop children’s access to porn sites on mobile phones and to increase privacy at home. And, thanks to our working closely with the local justice system, officers are getting better at managing children’s cases.

by Athit Perawongmetha/ Save The Children)

by Athit Perawongmetha/ Save The Children

Plus, over 700 children without birth registration have now received the right documentation, so their identities are recognised and protected. Through our school programmes, we have seen the number of complaints about corporal punishment drop by one-third. To ensure that children and their communities are aware of underage recruitment of child soldiers and how to report it, we have conducted 200 information sessions, resulting in 20 suspected cases being reported.

Save the Children Myanmar-Child Protection Team-2012-2

Save the Children in Myanmar is honoured and privileged to undertake such a complex initiative to improve the quality of life for so many children. It’s a noble task, one that we hope to achieve step by step every day. None of it, however, would have been possible without the huge support and resources that the IKEA Foundation have offered to us and, in the end, to the children.

About Juli Riegler

Juli is the IKEA Foundation's Digital Communications Manager. Next to managing the IKEA Foundation's website and Facebook account she works closely with Save the Children and UNICEF and IKEA's yearly Soft Toys for Education campaign. She enjoys doing a lot of different sports, travelling and connecting with people from around the world.

Goodbye Dhaka


On our last day, we visited Save the Children’s implementing partner the Bangladesh Protibondhi Foundation (BPF) in Mirpur, Dkaka. Their main objective is equal rights, opportunities and dignity for children with disabilities and disadvantages.

As soon as we arrive, we get a warm welcome from the children and the team with lots of flowers and handshakes. I don’t think I’ve ever met so many nice people in one week. Over 460 children go to school here; 350 of them are disabled and they all have a buddy who supports them when they all gather in the hallway. Time for their morning exercise and sing their national song. The building that we are visiting today was built in 2009 and funded by the government. It is fully equipped, and we get a tour through the whole centre after an explanation of the organisation from Shanim Ferdous, the executive director.

Welcome - by Saskia Rejons

Welcome – by Saskia Rejhons

In between tea is served, without cookies like we are used to but with guava, cucumber and aluchop, a small snack with potato and vegetables. Everywhere we go, the people put so much effort in their cooking. Rice, fish, chicken, lots of vegetables—I can’t get enough of the food here. During tea we meet Sukana, the founder of BPF, 86 years old. She still visits often to meet the children.

Cooking - by Saskia Rejons

Cooking – by Saskia Rejhons

Before we enter the classrooms, we walk down the hallway where mothers are waiting in line with their children. All with their own story. The children are tested here on neurodevelopment, psychological, intelligence and mobility.

In the room we meet Kamroen Nahar a senior psychologist. They are testing Ciam. Ciam is two years old and has multiple disabilities. Her mother receives instructions that she can apply at home. After three months, she will come back here to create a follow-up plan. Ciam is in good hands. It’s also good to know that nobody will be rejected, even when the families are not able to afford it.

English class - by Saskia Rejons

English class – by Saskia Rejhons

All the teachers, staff and children are proud, and they want to show us every part of the building and with what kind of materials they are using. There is even a cuddle room, a space where objects, images, colours and sounds tickle the senses of the children to make them calm and put them at ease.

Classroom - by Katarina

Classroom – by Katarina

In one of the last classrooms we enter I meet a girl. Even though it’s in sign language, it’s quite easy to communicate with her. She is making a drawing and explains to me what she has drawn and that she is so happy to meet me. After a great performance from the children, all the pictures have been taken, hands have been shaken, hugs have been given and it’s time to say goodbye. When I take a last look, I see her blowing me a hand kiss.

Drawing - by Petra Hans

Drawing – by Petra Hans

I can’t believe it has been the last visit; it all went by so quickly. It has been a great experience, and we met a lot of amazing, powerful and inspirational people. Their strength and perseverance often made me feel small.

One last visit to the office of Save the Children, where we have a debriefing to discuss and evaluate the week. I think I speak for the whole group when I say thank you to everybody who participated and shared all those unforgettable moments. Bangladesh and the people we have met, you have captured our hearts.

About Sabina Vis

I'm 28 years old and live in the centre of Delft, the Netherlands. For the last two and a half years, I've been working as part of a great team at Inter IKEA Systems B.V. in Delft as a Graphic Communicator. At weekends you can find me with family or friends with a beer in the pub, outside for a run, going out for dinner, attempting to play the guitar (still really badly ;)). Besides that I love travelling, meeting new people and discovering different cultures.

Goodbye Visit


 

Our last day in Angola just started! It’s been a great journey so far and we had our final school visit, this time in Luanda, in a district called Boa Fe (“Good Faith”).

On our way to - by Gerald Folly

On our way to the Boa Fe district – by Gerald Folly

 

The primary school was still in Luanda municipality, but in the outskirts. We needed almost one hour travel time by car from the city center to reach it. It showed us clearly the size of that capital.

School photo - by Gerald Folly

Street view outskirts of Luanda  - by Gerald Folly

 

Arriving there we got a very warm welcome by both students and staff members. The principal showed us the small grounds, including the six classrooms.

About 1300 children could attend this school, the only primary school in this district. Many of them walk up to two kilometers to reach the school. Although the school has a two-shift system in the morning and the afternoon, but not all children from this area can participate in the education system. Approximately 5000 children are on the waiting list! Some do not get any teaching whilst, some of them attend unofficial private schools, with these exams not normally recognized by state institutions.

Kids and teachers from the - by Gerald Folly

Kids and teachers  - by Gerald Folly

The teachers do their best to enable good education conditions, but the maximum allowed number of pupils per class of 35 is quite often doubled in the classrooms. In contradiction to some other schools we visited before there is no UNICEF support – yet – which easily can be seen. No running water is provided, water supply is done by a tank. The school has to pay it from their own budget.

Photo by Lisa Spitzhütl

Photo by Lisa Spitzhütl

 

The school feeding programme which should provide nutrition for the children seemed not to be implemented. Luckily we had the chance to visit every classroom. They presented us various spontanous dance and singing performances which we enjoyed very much. At the end of the visit everybody of the school and us was invited to a last big picture together. It was not easy to leave but the final meeting in the UN headquarter with UNICEF was on schedule. We shared our experiences.

Photo Maximilian Lauterbach

Photo Maximilian Lauterbach

On our flight back home - by Juli Riegler

On our flight back home – by Juli Riegler

 

About Gerald Folly

I'm an Austrian living in Vienna. I’m 35 years old and have been a sales manager in eCommerce at IKEA Austria for seven months. I have more than twelve years’ experience in customer service and sales at our Vienna North store, where I held different positions, mainly in Showroom departments. During my free time I travel a lot, very often to places that are not frequently visited, where I try to make memorable pictures. During our trip to Angola, I'd like to get in contact with as many local people as possible and learn how capacity building is done, especially in the education system.

Countless happy smiles


 

The pre-school center in Namibe is for children from 1 – 5 years of age.
We were welcomed by the headmaster and invited to visit the classrooms and saw the dormitories, where the little ones get to sleep and rest twice a day. The pre-school is open from 7:30 – 17:30 on week days.

Girl with pretty braids in her hair - by Lisa Spitzhuetl

Girl with pretty braids in her hair – by Lisa Spitzhuetl

The children spontaneously performed songs and dances and were excited and shy at the same time to have so many foreign visitors at their school.

Pre-school kids, happy and excited to meet so many foreign guests- by Max Lauterbach

Pre-school kids, happy and excited to meet so many foreign guests- by Max Lauterbach

At the end of our visit we surprised the kids with a big bag full of gifts, including many soft toys, finger puppets and kipping ropes. The big smile on their faces was unforgettable and worth carrying the bag around with us for the last days.

Lisa giving a soft toy to one of the pre-school girls - by Gerald Folly

Lisa giving a soft toy to one of the pre-school girls – by Gerald Folly

Pedro hading out more soft toys to the children - by Gerald Folly

Pedro handing out more soft toys to the children – by Gerald Folly

Juli having a good time! by Lisa Spitzhuetl

Juli having a good time! by Lisa Spitzhuetl

 A rare photo of Gerald our IWitness photographer with the pre-school children by - Anna Wilhelm (UNICEF Austria)

A rare photo of Gerald our IWitness photographer with the pre-school children by – Anna Wilhelm (UNICEF Austria)

After this fun visit we had to head back to Lubango, a two hour drive to catch our flight back to Luanda, where we went to visit the last school from the IWitness trip. Luckily we had enough time to stop twice for group photos with our friends from UNICEF Angola.

Group selfie with our friends from UNICEF Angola - By Geral Folly

Group selfie with our friends from UNICEF Angola – By Geral Folly

About Gerald Folly

I'm an Austrian living in Vienna. I’m 35 years old and have been a sales manager in eCommerce at IKEA Austria for seven months. I have more than twelve years’ experience in customer service and sales at our Vienna North store, where I held different positions, mainly in Showroom departments. During my free time I travel a lot, very often to places that are not frequently visited, where I try to make memorable pictures. During our trip to Angola, I'd like to get in contact with as many local people as possible and learn how capacity building is done, especially in the education system.

Namibe in the lead for quality education


 

Our fourth day in Angola and second day in Namibe started with a visit to school Emilio Ngongo n 63. A school for children of six years and older.

Photo Max Lauterbach

Photo Max Lauterbach

This school exists since two years and it’s beautiful courtyard is surrounded by all the classrooms. The headmaster also showed us the great hall, which is used for events and activities. In addition the teachers also can be use for bringing the children together to learn social skills and practice speaking in front of bigger audiences. The backside of the school is currently under construction but will eventually host computer and server rooms, as well as a school canteen.

Photo Lisa Spitzhuetl

Photo Lisa Spitzhuetl

For fun and entertainment we performed the classic German song ”Alle meine Entchen” in front of one of the classes, followed by a short volleyball match with with older kids.

Photo Gerald Folly

Photo Gerald Folly

Next on the agenda was a meeting with the Governor of the Province of Namibe and his administrative staff. He took time for meeting us in order to explain more details about the education system in his province.

Photo by Gerald Folly

Photo by Gerald Folly

We learned that every school in his province should have a canteen for the children. This is important to keep the attention during class but also it helps to improve school attendance rates.

The province of Namibe currently has 91 primary schools, another 20 are currently being constructed. Once the remaining 20 schools are ready to be opened, the need for primary schools in this area should be fully covered.

The recruitment of new teaching staff is not an issue, as the jobs are highly respected and compared to other occupations very well paid. The main challenge remains in the rural ares, where the population is not so densely populated and children have to travel further distances to go to school. To make teaching in rural areas attractive, the government offers complete relocation packages, which is especially attractive for new teachers. When relocating to a rural area for teaching they will get a fully furnished house.

After the meeting we directly headed to visit a pre-school. Read the next blog to find out more.

About Maximilian Lauterbach

I’m 33 years old, and I have worked in the Logistics Department of the Vienna North store for almost 10 years. I like travelling, especially meeting local people and learning from other cultures. Also, I’m very interested in history and politics. It’s a big pleasure for me to be a part of the IWitness programme, and I’m very excited to travel to Angola.

A school for children with special needs


 

After our visit to scola n°37 we continued driving to visit another school, the only special education center for for children with special needs and disabilities in this province.

The welcome was short but warm, followed us being allowed to visit all classes, listening and observing. Already in the first classroom my breath was taken away, as I saw how the children with bad hearing abilities learned sign language. Out of interest I learn the sign language myself, what in Austria we call ÖGS (“Österreichische Gebärdensprache”). Therefore it was especially interesting for me to follow the class.

 

Both sign languages, the Austrian and the Angolan, are internationally recognized but still there are quite a few differences. I noticed for example that the Angolan sign language does not use as much facial expression as we do in Austria. In Austria that is a very important part of the sign language, as it helps to express feeling, emotions and  can emphasize how we want to tell a story. In the Austrian sign language a lot of the gestures are the same but the expression with the mouth gives each of them a different meaning. This way one can express a lot of things with not too many gestures. In a way its like having an enriched vocabulary.

It was also interesting to see that the alphabet and many words were expressed differently.

After vising all the classrooms, we had the chance to ask first the teachers and then the students some questions and take fun photos together.

Photo of me with some of the students from the special needs school.

Photo of me with some of the students from the special needs school.

Group photo in front of the school. Photo Lisa Spitzhuetl

Group photo in front of the school. Photo Lisa Spitzhuetl

 

About Lisa Spitzhutl

I'm 22 years old. I've been working at the IKEA Store Vösendorf in Austria since November 2013. I'm a customer service assistant, and I'm glad to be part of the IKEA Team. After work I often work out in a fitness studio. I spend a lot of time with my friends, and once a week I learn the Austrian sign language.

100 % school attendance rate


After a short meeting at the education authorities from Namibe we finally went to our first school visit, together with the General Director of Education and some of his Staff.

The 4ht grade children of the school named  ”scola n°37″ welcomed us friendly and kindly with a nice speech prepared in English and in Portuguese. The school looked great! A beautiful courtyard, a well maintained and clean building and facilities like a library, a nursery and bathrooms.

Welcome speech in Portugese by one of the students - photo Gerald Folly

Welcome speech in Portuguese by one of the students – photo Gerald Folly

Then the speech was repeated by an older student in English - photo Gerald Folly

Then the speech was repeated by an older student in English – photo Gerald Folly

This is one of the schools that had received support from UNICEF for child friendly teaching we could see this reflecting in the proud teaching staff and the happy children.

There children try to learn by using modern teaching methods,such as small laptops in order to allow a better and fast understanding. The computer class is an absolute hit, as school attendance rate climbed up to 100%! Non of the students want to miss out on this lesson.

The pilot class for computer lessons is a great success, as the school attendance rate climbed up to 100% - photo Gerald Folly

The pilot class for computer lessons is a great success, as the school attendance rate climbed up to 100% – photo Gerald Folly

But the challenges for education in Angola remain, especially in the rural areas, where such well equipped schools are still rare. And even at this school the number of laptops is limited and not all age groups get the benefit of working with them.

Photo by Gerald Folly

Photo by Gerald Folly

Gwen who joined us from UNICEF Angola for the entire trip introduced us to the pupils and teachers and explained the reason for visit.

The school also has a Medical room for emergency cases and when children fall ill while being at school. The room is well equipped but the conditions could still be better, as the nurse was missing some more working materials.

School nurse - photo Gerald Folly

School nurse – photo Gerald Folly

 

About Pedro Lukau

I am 38 years old, and I started working at IKEA in 2003 in Salzburg as a logistics co-worker. Now I work at IKEA Klagenfurt fulfilling the same function. I come from Angola, and I have been in Austria for about 14 years. Being a native African, I think I am a perfect image of UNICEF children because I am directly concerned. I like to help people in need as much as I can, and also like to be in touch with other people, and that is why I have decided to take part in the IKEA Foundation's IWitness programme. I like to play football and guitar and sing gospels because I am a Christian.

Let’s talk about shit!


 

Waking up in the hotel and having a shower as well as running water reminded me it’s completely different for a lot of people around Lubango where we stayed that night.

In the capital of Huila province we met in the morning the Head of the Directorate of Energy and Water.

Photo Gerald Folly

Photo Gerald Folly

He gave us a brief introduction into data of the province: out of more than three million inhabitants 59 percent have access to water at their homes or nearby water distribution points. And only 20 percent have access to proper sanitation facilities. That means there is a lot to do for his department.

Together with some staff of the directorate we started a tour in and around Lubango to see what has happened in terms of water supplies and sanitation.

Street view - photo Gerald Folly

Street view – photo Gerald Folly

We started our tour and visited a pastor next to his church and the annexed toilets at this place. This is an important thing to have them there as a lot of development here is a change in mindset of the people. The priest serves here to the surrounding community as a role model to promote the importance to have a proper toilet – to prevent diseases or illness and improve the health situation and quality of life of the people.

Pedro with the local Priest, who helps to sensitise the communitiy for hygeene and sanitation. Photo  Gerald Folly

Pedro with the local Priest, who helps to sensitise the communitiy for hygeene and sanitation. Photo Gerald Folly

Around in the neighborhood we then saw some examples of newly installed toilets next to or inside homes. The owners were very proud of them and happy to show them to us.

Photo Gerald Folly

Photo Gerald Folly

This latrine is inside the house, which increases comfort. Photo Gerald Folly

This latrine is inside the house, which increases comfort. Photo Gerald Folly

The next stop was at a water supply point – a pump from a dwell about 50 meters below surface brought the water up in a tank. This system runs on solar power and is independent. Each family contributes two US-dollars per month and can use the cleaned potable water and in addition the washing facilities for clothes.

Photo by Gerald Folly

Local water supply point, which also provides facilities to wash laundry. Photo by Gerald Folly

Finally we got the chance to see a demonstration site for toilets – in the last two years more than 1000 people got consultancy on how to erect and install a toilet in their home. More than 700 already did that investment. Of course there are costs, but the people can get support in getting cheap material for building them up.

Four types of toilets were promoted fitting to the financial possibilities of the people.

Photo by Gerald Folly

Photo by Gerald Folly

Here is type four: Investment 2000 US-dollars, with water supply and tiles inside. A ceramic toilet and wash basin is integrated. If you can afford it, this should be your choice.

Photo by Gerald Folly

Photo by Gerald Folly

Next is type three: Investment 1000 US-dollars, this model is promoted at the site as it fits more to the financial possibilities of the many people but gives a big impact on your hygienic situation. The tiles from Model 4 are replaced by cement and the Washing basin is now two buckets – one for clean and used water each. Not to forget a small plastic mug for carrying the water from one to another bucket – essential for not transmitting bacteria’s!

Photo by Gerald Folly

Photo by Gerald Folly

The following type two is an investment of 200 US-dollars, if you build your blocks of the construction by yourself or up to 450 US-dollars if you buy everything. This one is simpler as the two models before but still has a tank with siphon to avoid smell. Most of the people opt for this version as it’s a good compromise between an affordable price and an improvement of the situation before.

Photo by Gerald Folly

Photo by Gerald Folly

At the end of the visit model one was shown, with an investment of 20 US-dollars only. This is a basic possibility of having a toilet at home. Keeping in mind more than 30% of the population lives below the poverty line of 1.75 US-dollars per day is still is a notable amount of money.

Photo by Gerald Folly

Photo by Gerald Folly

In addition practical tips are given to the visitors how to build the future toilet in an efficient way. Summarizing the morning you can be sure it’s good to talk about shit, it really can improve your daily situation at home!

Group photo by Gerald Folly

Group photo by Gerald Folly

 

About Gerald Folly

I'm an Austrian living in Vienna. I’m 35 years old and have been a sales manager in eCommerce at IKEA Austria for seven months. I have more than twelve years’ experience in customer service and sales at our Vienna North store, where I held different positions, mainly in Showroom departments. During my free time I travel a lot, very often to places that are not frequently visited, where I try to make memorable pictures. During our trip to Angola, I'd like to get in contact with as many local people as possible and learn how capacity building is done, especially in the education system.