Madagascar: The Toilets of Fortune

11 January 2017

Madagascar: The Toilets of Fortune

I’m excited, but also feeling butterflies in my belly. Everyone back in the village is waiting to hear about my visit to the Medair office in town.

In the spring, Medair gave me special training to build and sell Sanplat toilets. I had been in financial trouble. As a teacher’s aide, I didn’t get a regular salary. To provide for my wife and my three-year-old daughter, I often borrowed money. When I heard Medair was looking for people to teach how to build toilets, I applied for the good cause and the extra income.

My family and I used to defecate near the river; most of our neighbours did as well. But not anymore! Now we own a toilet. It is actually the very first Sanplat slab I built, right after I finished my training with Medair.

During my school vacation, I built toilet after toilet. I pay attention to the details and make sure the finish is perfect. Some people might think they’re just toilets, but if we want people to use them, they first must look attractive. Word gets around. Many people are now waiting their turn for me to build their toilet.

With the money I earned from selling and building my first few toilets, I was able to provide for our basic household needs. After selling more toilets, I was able to repay the money I had borrowed. My wife is really happy because we can even save money now. Our life before I started selling toilets was completely different from the one we have now.

My family is very proud of me. Before now, whenever a construction project happened, they usually brought workers from the capital city. But Medair is recruiting locals, and my family can boast that I am one of them. Building toilets and contributing to the well-being of the community have helped restore my family’s honour.

Besides visiting the Medair office, I’m here in Maroantsetra today because I have received the exciting news that I am eligible to be a government-employee school teacher, after so many years as a teacher’s aide. That’s why I can’t stop smiling. The money I earned from the toilets helped me pay for my application and travel costs. I can honestly say if it hadn’t been for the money from the toilets, applying to become a government employee would not have been possible.

I never thought I’d say this, but toilets have brought me good fortune. Thank you! 

-  Aulin Rasoloherindrainy

Francis, Medair’s toilet project manager, recognises Aulin for his exemplary work:

“Congratulations, 17 toilets constructed in three months, we’ve never seen that! That record is going to be hard to beat.”

Learn more about Medair’s work in Madagascar.

Medair’s work in Maroantsetra is supported by EC-Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Swiss Solidarity, and Agence de l’eau Rhône Méditerranée Corse, and generous private donors.

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.

More stories like this

More about this region