Improved health in Indonesia: Arsad’s story

Arsad, an Indonesian farmer, had no toilet in his home so he had to walk into the forest to the open defecation area, even at night or in the rain. 

Around 17 percent of Indonesia’s rural population practice open defecation, with many unaware that it contributes to spreading diseases. 

Arsad’s family was often sick and open defecation caused neighbourhood disputes. With the support of Caritas Australia and its partner, Laz Harfa, he took part in hygiene, sanitation and financial management training. He decided to fund the building of a toilet in his house and facilitated others in his neighbourhood to save up for toilets. 

Arsad with his family outside their home in Pandeglang district Indonesia.

Now, Arsad and his family are healthier and have reduced their medical expenses. Their community no longer practices open defecation and is more harmonious. A community event, called ‘Declaration of Open Defecation-Free’ was even held to acknowledge their achievements.  

Improved hygiene practices helped Arsad’s community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caritas Australia, through Laz Harfa, also shared prevention measures and distributing soap and masks. 

Arsad has inspired his neighbourhood to ‘Be More’. 

“We help each other, the ‘togetherness’ is growing. Our solidarity has increased,” Arsad says. 

Your support this Lent is lifesaving for people experiencing poverty. Please help more people like Arsad to access the education the need to transform their lives.