Growing up in Alexandra township, Candice Sehoma only had access to bucket toilets. Her first encounter with flushing toilets was when she started school. It made her see that her community was being deprived of basic human dignity.
So, in 2012, Sehoma, 23, teamed up with three friends to form the Building Blocks Foundation, an organisation that gives marginalised communities access to flushing toilets. They started by educating their community about the importance of proper sanitation. Then they began facilitating the process of erecting flushing toilets in Alexandra. Since 2013 Building Blocks has erected 35 communal flushing toilets in 23 areas.
Once erected, the toilets are locked and each family using them is given a key, ensuring easier maintenance. But it’s not just about having access to a modern toilet: flushing toilets help combat the spread of diseases, improving the health of a community. Sehoma, who is studying towards an honours degree in development studies at the University of Pretoria, is already planning to expand Building Blocks beyond Alexandra.
“It’s a basic need, one that has been overlooked. Since I was directly affected by it, I felt a strong urge to drive the kind of change I want to see in my community.
Find Sehoma on Twitter: @CandisiweS