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Public Toilet Users: Rabiat #WeAreSafisana

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17/11/2023
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3 min read

Rabiat is a 63-year-old seamstress who specializes in sewing and repairing clothes. Unlike some, she doesn’t have the luxury of a private toilet at her house, so she often makes use of public facilities. "Today, I'm here because I am visiting my sister, who lives close to Safisana."

Seamstress Rabiat (63) is a regular visitor of public toilets: For me, public toilets provide a sense of safety which is very important.”

"Using public toilets can be challenging due to their usual state of dirtiness, but the one here at Safisana is one of the exceptions. Unfortunately, I live quite a distance away so I do not use Safisana’s toilet daily. Today, I’m here because I am visiting my sister, who lives close to Safisana. That is why I was able to use this public toilet."

Perfect Doh (Safisana's toilet manager), at the female entrance of Safisana's public toilet

Confronting challenges

"As I've mentioned, using public toilets can be quite a challenge for me. The main issue I encounter with public toilets is their opening hours. I often need to go around 4 o’clock in the morning, while they typically open around 5 o’clock. Before they open, many of us are left with no choice but to resort to using the nearby bushes. Personally, I fear going to the bushes, I am an elderly woman but even when I was younger I used to be scared. As women in general, we are more vulnerable in such situations. From a young age, I’ve made it a point to wait until I find a public toilet, avoiding bushes at all costs.

"One time, I had an unsettling experience when I had to find a place to release myself, and there was no public toilet nearby. That day, a man followed me, and I felt like he wanted to harm me. So I decided not to go, instead I improvised with leaves stuffed in my pants as a solution. This fear has persisted throughout my whole life.

The importance of public toilets 

Perfect Doh, at work in the toilet facility

"For me, public toilets provide a sense of safety which is very important. I strongly believe that there should be more accessible public toilets in Ghana. Even though some public toilets can be more uncomfortable, I do think we need more of them here. They should just be cleaner, like the one here at Safisana. I appreciate that Safisana has toilets with seaters and not just pit holes. That is why I prefer this particular toilet.

"In my neighborhood, there is a gutter that has unfortunately become a toilet for many. Because of that, it often smells bad in my area and I know it can also be dangerous to our health. Unfortunately, not everyone seems aware or concerned about this issue. This is precisely why public toilets are essential for our community. They help prevent unpleasant smells and the spread of diseases.

Read more testimonials about the practical impact of lacking sanitation services on peoples' daily lives and wellbeing on our Impact Blog

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