“We owe toilets to those women. And we owe toilets to girls who would otherwise have to drop out of school. I don’t have money or power, but I have drumsticks.”
Allison Boley has been a part of the Blood:Water family for many years now (here is a link to an article we wrote about her back in 2015), and in honor of World Toilet Day, we wanted to share her story! But Allison isn’t your average philanthropist; she likes to put her own spin on fundraising for our partners in Africa: by drumming!
When she was nine years old, she began experiencing severe digestive pain, which went undiagnosed until she was fifteen and doctors didn’t know how to treat her for another two years after that. Knowing how important access to a restroom was for her growing up, she was shocked to read that diarrheal diseases are the second highest cause of death for children worldwide. Not only that, but many girls are forced to drop out of school when they begin menstruating, and many are in danger of sexual assault in places where there is no safe latrine.
Allison writes of this realization, “I began thinking about what my life would have looked like if I had been born somewhere else, and I thought about what life looks like for women like me who are born somewhere else. And I find that unacceptable.” We wrote about one brilliant young woman our partner MOUCECORE was able to help, AnneMarie, who because of a safe latrine in her school can now attend class without fear of danger from her menstrual cycle.
Allison responded by creating her own way to help women like her in places where they didn’t have easy access to a bathroom. “I thought of all the time I had spent with my friend the toilet, and I found these statistics completely unacceptable. So I created Drums for Toilets, a benefit concert that raises money to build latrines in Africa. It’s a night of community when we participate together to stand up so our brothers and sisters can sit down.”
Please join us in celebrating Allison and the work she is doing! Click here to view this year’s virtual fundraiser. And if you would like to give to her campaign, head here!