Imagine being forced from your home, leaving everything behind, fleeing your country with thousands of others only to live in a refugee camp. The 8,500 people living at the Mugombwa refugee camp in the Southern Province of Rwanda don't have to image what that would be like; it's already happened to them.
While the camp does provide some shelter for the refugees who have lost so much, there is a problem—poor sanitation.
In order to help the people in the Mugombwa camp, LDS Charities, a humanitarian group owned by the Church, were able to secure contract workers to build 14 brick-and-mortar latrines.
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These latrines are an important part of combating infectious diseases caused by poor sanitation.
Cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A, polio, cryptosporidiosis, and ascariasis are all linked to human excreta. Many of these diseases can be deadly—with cholera, cryptosporidiosis, and typhoid leading to dehydration, which is especially concerning for the 5,100 refugees under the age 18 at the camp.
By building latrines, the Church has helped improve the sanitation conditions for those at the Mugombwa camp, potentially lowering the risk for infectious diseases.
LDS Charities, along with senior missionary couples, are working on other projects for refugees as well. So far, the humanitarian group is working to build 15 classrooms in various refugee camps to provide education to the children of refugees.