Flush inequity down the toilet

Claire De Sylva recently launched her NPO, Project Loo Durban, which aims at providing flushable toilets to the community of Umzinyathi in Inanda. She is supported by fellow runners James Meredith and on the right is Mitch Dufourq.
Claire De Sylva recently launched her NPO, Project Loo Durban, which aims at providing flushable toilets to the community of Umzinyathi in Inanda. She is supported by fellow runners James Meredith and on the right is Mitch Dufourq.

FOR some, having access to flushable toilets remains a luxury while millions of South Africans, who use either the bucket system, pit latrines (long drops) or chemical toilets are still without access to proper flushable loos. It’s estimated that as many as 15-million people don’t have access to adequate sanitation in South Africa. One person, who has become acutely aware of the problem facing those in disadvantaged communities, is Durban North resident Claire De Sylva.

She recently started Project Loo Durban, an NPO aimed at providing dry sanitation toilets to thousands of residents in Inanda. It all started last year when the former Our Lady of Fatima learner was at a friend’s 40th birthday party.

“I was at my friend, Deli Mhlongo’s home in Umzinyathi, Inanda. I needed the loo and she took me to literally, a hole in the ground, with a wooden structure nailed together around it. It struck me then, not only did she not have access to water, but to a flushable toilet. For so many of us we are disconnected to this type of pain and suffering, it’s until you see someone you love in that position that you realise.

Claire De Sylva recently launched her NPO, Project Loo Durban, which aims at providing flushable toilets to the community of Umzinyathi in Inanda.

Claire De Sylva recently launched her NPO, Project Loo Durban, which aims at providing flushable toilets to the community of Umzinyathi in Inanda.

“She told me her family has to walk for more than a kilometre to collect water. Driving home I was completely devastated, I couldn’t actually sleep that night. I was determined to change the situation. The next day, I went back to formulate a plan to make a change for Deli and ultimately the community,” she said.

De Sylva said since the launch of the NPO’s Facebook page two weeks ago, the response has been phenomenal.

“Within two weeks we’ve managed to raise enough funds for installing a proper toilet for Deli. The company installing the loos, Conloo Engineering, have also come on board and matched the amount raised and we are now able to install a second toilet. Epic.”

“Ultimately the bigger picture is to get the toilets for the entire community. I cannot thank residents enough, every bit that has been received so far, no matter how much, is so appreciated. We’re about getting sanitation to where it’s needed most. Having a loo should not be a luxury, it’s a basic human right. I’m hoping more residents and businesses will get involved in this project,” she said.

To support the initiative visit the Project Loo Facebook page or contact Claire directly at projectloodurban@gmail.com. to make an instant donation using your Zapper, please scan the barcode:

  AUTHOR
Shiraz Habbib
Journalist

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Tackling inequality one flush at a time