In regional Zimbabwe, poor hygiene and sanitation practices often lead to the spread of diseases like cholera and diarrhoea, affecting the health of entire communities. Thanks to the support of Australians through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), CARE is running an amazing project to help prevent this. The project runs sessions to help people understand the need for effective sanitation, and trains local women to become latrine builders, to help ensure waste is treated safely.
38-year-old Needmore is one of the women CARE has trained to do this very job. Her story is exceptional because she is both deaf and non-verbal, so communication during the training posed a challenge.
“I did not excel in school because I am deaf.” Needmore wrote. “But I can do whatever any person can do.”
Fortunately, Needmore can read and write, so instructions and questions were delivered on paper and she learnt very fast.
She has already constructed 12 toilets – making a massive improvement to her community’s sanitation. She is using the income she makes from building toilets to help feed her family. Her ambition is to earn enough money to pay for her siblings’ school fees, and to become a trainer herself one day, so others in her community can benefit from what she has learnt.
Asked whether her being female, deaf, and unable to talk was a challenge in finding customers, she wrote, “I grew up in this community and have been working hand in glove with the same community, and as such they have accepted me from childhood, so I see no barrier at all.”
Needmore hopes that her story and experience will help inspire other women, girls, and those with disabilities to take up trades once regarded as men’s. Her dream is to see more women in her community taking part in initiatives such as latrine building; to have their own sources of income rather than depending on men.