After graduating from high school, both girls whose parents are farmers, couldn’t afford to attend university so they remained at home in Aileu District to look for employment. Maria and Dulce chose to attend the Sanitation and Marketing Training so they could learn how to start their own business and support themselves financially.
They learnt how to lay pipes, mix cement and make toilets – tasks that girls in Aileu district rarely perform. Dulce and Maria spent 4 months in Dili completing their training and returned to Aileu to complete 2 months of on the job training – where they improved sanitation facilities in their own district. Both girls know that water-borne diseases in Aileu District are caused by poor sanitation and they hope that as their business grows their neighbours will become healthier.
They know that changing people’s behaviour is a key factor for their business to become a success, and discussing the health benefits of having a toilet is an important part of their business plan. Their goal is to work closely with households who do not currently have a toilet and construct and install toilets at a price that families can afford. By making inexpensive toilets from local materials Maria and Dulce plan to save half of the money they earn so they can grow their business year by year and train other young women to help them expand their business and its benefits to the community.