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WASH and Disability: A Poem

Master of Science (WASH Engineering)

Elon Ryan Sooknanan, Postgraduate student, Master of Science in Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering

*This is a poem written by Elon as part of a student seminar in the Master of Science in Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering*



WaSH, so you are fondly called

Trying to meet the demands of one and all

But my disability is such a harsh reality

How can you say I have equity?


An outcast supposed to be a thing of the past

Not knowing it is called second class

Who should I turn to for reprieve

My family and friends can only look on and grieve


No consideration for the less- able

Access for the able is very stable

Yet I’m unable to sit at the table

To voice my concerns for the disabled


Urinate Defecate Menstruate all at stake

No water and soap to extend a proper handshake

Latrines and pits so difficult to sit

My health and dignity is so unfit


Engineers and policy makers omitted me from the list

How can this be accepted as a great miss?

Totally convinced I’m at great risk

Don’t you think we can correct this?


Your focus is only on the first world

What about me who have little or none at all

Give me a chance to rise from the burden of my disabilities

Feeling satisfied with improved and better facilities


WHO/PAHO and others you all know

People say they are slow; but they have much to show

Work in progress what a great test

No time to rest to eradicate this mess


Hitting the trail from every scale

Male and female making themselves avail

Working to alleviate this cry of distress

To ensure my fundamental rights are properly addressed


Going GREEN is acceptable and clean

The MDG’s & SDG’s are clearly on stream

Paving the way for me to WaSH

Definitely this is no brainwash


Now I have the will to function another day

The WaSH I have gotten is here to stay

Knowing that my concerns were met without regret

My health safety and dignity is no longer at threat