A Test of Empathy
The shadows of poverty shelter thousands upon thousands of children and their parents, entire families whose hearth and home is often scarred by the scorching heat of ill managed sanitation and poor health; which, if remain unchecked, burns it all to the ground by turning into a raging inferno of sickness and death. From their ashes rises a voiceless question to the people of this world. Were we not your brothers and sisters in humanity? Was it our dearth of money or your empathy which kindled these flames whose fuel became our dreams and aspirations, our hearth and home, our health and very lives?
Every 19th of November is globally observed as the World Toilet Day. It aims at spreading awareness about the 4.2 billion people who do not have the access to proper sanitation and consequently suffer from an unhygienic lifestyle which eventually put their lives at risk with diseases that are preventable.
It is not hard to imagine how in third world countries like Pakistan, people are striving tooth and nail to survive the adversities of multidimensional poverty. Poor sanitation and hygiene only require being resolved in a way which secures a healthy lifestyle for the people and prevents any likely harm to the environment and in effect to the rapidly deteriorating climatic conditions of the world. For instance, according to United Nations, “Toilets can help us to fight climate change. Wastewater and sludge from toilets contain valuable water, nutrients, and energy. Sustainable sanitation systems make productive use of waste to safely boost agriculture and reduce and capture emissions for greener energy.
But what is exactly a sustainable sanitation system? Sustainable sanitation begins with a toilet that effectively captures human waste in a safe, accessible, and dignified setting. The waste then gets stored in a tank, which can be emptied later by a collection service, or transported away by pipework. The next stage is treatment and safe disposal. Safe reuse of human waste helps save water, reduces and captures greenhouse gas emissions for energy production, and can provide agriculture with a reliable source of water and nutrients.”
Such sustainable systems require us all to take some time and pool in our individual resources to make a united effort for the well-being of all those communities who face such difficulties. At the end of the day dear reader, it’s a question of how keenly can we feel their suffering within our own comfort zones, how deeply do we allow our hearts to be moved by the pain of their daily lives. For without such empathy warming our hearts with such sensitivity, we could never have enough motivation to act upon our more praiseworthy impulses. Indeed, each and every one of us, at some point or another, have had thoughts of contributing our fair share to such efforts. At the same time, it cannot be denied that had mere thoughts been enough to propel us into action, all such issues would have been resolved ages ago. Empathy requires something more than mere thoughts. It requires us to realize that while people like you and I sit blissfully ignorant in our respective comforts, there are people out there whose mere sanitary, even toiletry conditions have become an overwhelming predicament for them to deal with.
Additionally, it should also be noted that such issues cannot be sustainably dealt with in isolation. As a result, organizations such as Human Development Foundation tirelessly work against poverty, keeping in view five major dimensions of Social Capital Development, Health, Education, Economic Development well and sustainable environment. The sum total of all such efforts is indeed a fruitful and inspirational result as a number of families have benefited from such dedicated struggles. For instance, 88% of population in HDF’s partner communities across Pakistan have access to basic sanitation.
In essence dear reader, let us all combine our efforts to rescue all those who are grappling against the adversities of their poverty. Let us leave no stone unturned in contributing our time and energy, our wealth and expertise to overpower such pain and suffering which infests our country and in effect this entire world.