East Surrey

Belfry shoppers make a big splash when spending a penny

Belfry shoppers make a big splash when spending a penny

Shoppers at the Belfry Shopping Centre have been helping to provide loos overseas while they spend a penny.

Since last year, the Centre has been encouraging customers to help it ‘twin’ its toilets with latrines in developing countries through the charity campaign, Toilet Twinning, bringing clean water and safe sanitation to the world’s poorest people. In just three months, Belfry shoppers had donated £380 which built a whole block of toilets in Guatemala. Since then another £345 has been raised which will build a toilet block in the Democratic Republic of Congo and a toilet in Uganda. The Belfry Shopping Centre’s management team have also twinned three further toilets themselves in Bangladesh, Guatemala and Uganda.

One in three people worldwide does not have a safe, decent toilet. Every two minutes a child under the age of five dies due to poor sanitation or dirty water. It was statistics such as these – and a visit to Uganda during her stepson’s Voluntary Service Overseas there – that persuaded the Belfry’s Operations Manager Helen Smith to take on the Toilet Twinning challenge.

“Toilets are a basic human right and everyone should have one, for their safety and privacy as much as their health,” said Helen. “I was horrified by stories of women without toilets having to go into the bush at night and being attacked. We’re proud of the toilets we provide in the Belfry and we’re delighted our customers have really come on board with the campaign.”

Lesley Quirk, Specialist Relationship Manager for Toilet Twinning, said: “Toilets protect families from disease and death, so they have more time and energy for work and farming, can earn more and start to work their way out of poverty. It’s true to say that in the very poor communities where we work, even the most basic latrine can transform a family’s life.”

Find out more here.