This year, International Medical Corps partnered with The Feminist Toilet to celebrate World Toilet Day—a day to raise awareness about the importance of toilets and sanitation.
Safe, secure access to a toilet provides much more than good hygiene in certain parts of the world. Too often, bathroom facilities leave women and girls at risk of gender-based violence. Searching for an outside toilet in the dark and not having lockable doors or gender-segregated facilities can jeopardize their safety.
As part of our celebration, we invited people to share creative expressions of what the toilet means to them. Below, we highlight poems and artwork that our Pakistan team, and those they serve, were kind enough to share with us.
Painting by Saman Maham
“As a girl growing up in the Karak District of Pakistan, I always carried a genuine interest in psychology and how it transforms our individual, social and collective realities. I was also touched by stories of human suffering and war trauma because of what happened in my region, and I wanted to support people in need.”
Written by Aisha Usman
Aisha is a language enthusiast and aspires to become a hyperpolyglot. The most recent language she learned was Pakistani Sign Language.
Drawing by Shah Nawaz
“I believe that humankind is responsible for saving God’s creation—planet Earth. I have planted many trees in my community and believe that everyone must plant at least one tree.”
Written by Aqsa Khalid
Aqsa is a keen cook and finds music relaxing.
Drawing by Razia
“I am very proud to share that I distributed sweets among my family when my niece was born, even though it was taboo [for a woman to do this] in my community.”
Written by Mohammad Zahir Saadat
Saadat has written six poetry books and two books of Pashto articles.
Drawing by Zainab
“I stood up for myself and my values as a woman when my family wanted to decide for me. I dream of a world where women can follow their dreams and make their own choices.”
Written by Saman Maham
Thank you to everyone who submitted poetry and artwork to help us celebrate World Toilet Day and to highlight the importance of safe access to facilities for women and girls. We’re grateful to our Pakistan team and to our team members worldwide who work tirelessly to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene services.
The Feminist Toilet is an annual literary magazine for people who care about health, safety, hygiene and gender equality, and enjoy art in all its forms. The 2021 edition was published in partnership with Brian Sonia-Wallace (West Hollywood’s Poet Laureate), Overdue, International Medical Corps and UN World Toilet Day.