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PO Box A524
Sydney South NSW 1235, Level 11, 227 Elizabeth Street Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: 1800 812 164

© 2019 Opportunity International AustraliaABN 83 003 805 043

1 in 4 child deaths in Indonesia are due to unsafe drinking water.

1 in 4

In India and Indonesia, preventable illnesses are far too common. One in four villages in India do not have access to clean, safe toilets, and basic sanitation practices such as handwashing are often unknown or not followed. Inadequate health and hygiene practices mean infections and conditions such as diarrhoea are part of everyday life. The result: millions of preventable deaths from unsafe drinking water or lack of basic health care.

But health leaders are determined to change that.

By building on the base of existing small loan clients, Opportunity's Health program focuses on training local women to become health leaders in their communities, allowing them to spread life-saving knowledge and care while earning an income to support their families.

To become health leaders, those interested and accepted into the program undertake six months of training in hygiene and sanitation, including community mapping which helps them more thoroughly understand their community's health needs. Within six months of graduating from the program, a health leader will be able to educate up to 200 households with basic health information, while selling products like soap and sanitary napkins.

The result: improved health for the community, and a reliable source of income for health leaders.

After Navihan lost her husband 10 years ago she struggled to feed her young children. She borrowed from a loan shark to make ends meet, but couldn’t repay the exorbitant interest. Her situation seemed bleak—until she was approved for a small loan from Opportunity’s partner, Cashpor. Navihan used the loan to start a roadside stall, which she has been running ever since. In addition to the produce she sells from her plot of land, the stall earns enough to provide for her children.

But income wasn’t the only barrier Navihan and her family faced. In their small village of around 200 households, sickness and poor health is common. High rates of open defecation and poor water quality lead to illnesses like typhoid and diarrhoea, illnesses which often leave adults and children unable to work or study.

When Navihan learned of the Community Health Leader training classes she went along largely out of curiosity, but she soon began to find the lessons useful for her own family. She taught her children how to wash their hands, and soon noticed their overall health improving.

Encouraged, she completed the training and started sharing the principles she had learned with her community. She began incorporating handwashing training into her after school lessons with 60 children, encouraging them to share the message with their own families. Once every month she leads a makeshift parade with the children as they sing and chant and perform hand-washing demonstrations. At first people laughed. But then they started paying attention. Navihan is now considered a true leader in her community, and the overall health of the village has improved. She is proud that her community is a clean place where families are healthy, and hopes to continue educating those around her with important messages about their health.

You can help today.

Each $1 you donate is enough to reach 1 person with health education.


Donate today to help Opportunity International Australia provide essential health and sanitation knowledge to communities living in poverty.

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