Esperança

Sanitation is Only Step One For the Zimila Family

The household of Flora Agostinho Zimila has 8 members.

Looking at this family’s living conditions a few months ago would surprise you…

Esperança’s Community Health Activists witnessed some hard conditions upon their initial visit to Flora’s home.

  • They did not have a “tarimba” (for lack of a Portuguese word to describe a makeshift table, built out of sticks and thin logs) where Flora could wash the dishes and kitchenware
  • The dishes were strewn about in the dirt, covered in flies
  • The yard was filled with trash and hardly ever maintained
  • There were always mosquitoes in the house, yard, and latrine
  • The family was not in the habit of washing their hands after using the bathroom or handling food
The family takes turns washing hands at their new sanitation station.

Flora’s family situation was equally difficult.

Flora did not have any knowledge of family planning and was unaware that she could give herself time between having each of her children. Therefore, every year for the past six years she conceived and had a child. Now, she can barely feed all her children. One had cholera, some had anemia, and all were malnourished. Malaria was a constant threat to the entire family given the mosquito infestation in their home.

The family was on a sure path for disease and possibly even death.

When Esperança’s local team learned of their condition, they immediately intervened.

A Community Health Activist was assigned to the family to provide hygiene education and family counseling. Looking back in on the family now, the transformation has been inspiring…

  • They use a "tarimba" to store clean dishes
  • They clean their home and yard of bushes and dirt that would multiply mosquitoes
  • The entire household is in the habit of washing their hands at a new sanitary station at the entrance of the home (since soap is a rare commodity, they use wood ashes as an alternative)
    Flora washed dishes at her new "tarimba"

With consistent counseling and support from Esperança’s Community Health Activists, Flora has completed the family planning education and will now only have a child if and when she and her partner decide.

In addition to the teaching and trainings surrounding home health, Flora and her family have also learned how to make soups, enriched maize porridge, and other tasty foods, and how to improve agriculture practices by attending Esperança’s nutrition round tables and conversations with other women of the community.

With the new seeds and agricultural practices she has gained; Flora could buy chickens and other small animals that provide both food and a source of income. This money allows Flora to send her children to school and buy them school material.

Esperança health activists around the world are doing what they can to fill basic needs so that parents everywhere have hope for a better future for their children.

Elena Burr