[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Thursday, 5 July 2007, 21:37 GMT 22:37 UK
Readers help Moroccan toilet family
By Richard Hamilton
BBC News, Sale, Morocco

Donations from online readers have helped a family in Morocco find somewhere to live after seven years living in a public toilet.

Aze Adine Ould Baja and his family
Aze Adine Ould Baja says he wants to buy a home for his family
Readers of an article on the BBC News website in June were so moved by the story of Aze Adine Ould Baja, his wife Khadija and their three children, that they donated more than $2,000 (1,000).

The family is now renting a new flat with the money they have received and hope to buy their own house in the future.

"I don't think we would have survived if it had not been for the money," Mr Baja told me.

"We had been thrown out of the toilet by the authorities and I had lost my job as the attendant there. I want to thank all the people who gave money, may God bless them and give them a place in heaven."

His wife Khadija said the experience had restored her faith in human nature.

I have a roof over my head now and would like the same thing for the Baja family
A concerned reader
"Because of this, we now know that charitable people still exist in the world," she said.

"We never thought we would receive anything," she told me, "but now we have an apartment that is clean, has water, electricity and even a toilet!

"We thank God we are living in a place like this and not in the public lavatories, where we lived among rats and mice."

Evicted

About 10 years ago their youngest daughter was kidnapped, and the family spent all their money getting her back.

Identity card, showing "toilets" as official residence
This identity card shows 'toilets' as an official address

No longer being able to afford their flat, the family moved into the public lavatories in Sale near Rabat, where Mr Baja worked as the attendant.

They thought it would be just a temporary measure because the local authority promised them somewhere else to live, but seven years later those promises had still not become reality.

In fact the authorities even issued them with identity papers that gave their official address as "Toilets, Sale".

When the family told their story to a local newspaper the authorities evicted them from the lavatories and blocked it up with concrete.

But after they read about the plight of the Baja family on the BBC website, hundreds of people from as far afield as the United States, Britain and Kuwait sent emails expressing concern.

Now I am a human being again
Aze Adine Ould Baja
"I have been unemployed for quite some time now," wrote one reader, "but I have a roof over my head now and would like the same thing for the Baja family."

"It is a shame for the whole world that innocent people have to live under such horrible conditions," wrote another.

And yet another correspondent said: "Brother, I pray your troubles will pass soon. Please pray for me and my family too. Wa Salaam."

Deposit on home

Dozens of people have now sent donations via the money transfer service, Western Union. More money is still coming in.

Mr Baja plans to get a job working as a car park attendant or selling snacks on the beach at Sale.

He also wants to buy his own house using money he has received as a deposit.

"Living in the toilet was a nightmare that we have woken up from," he said.

"It was like a dark cloud or a fog passing in front of our eyes. When you have no job, no house and cannot provide for your family, you are not a real human being," he added, "but now I am a human being again."


SEE ALSO
Moroccan terror trial postponed
25 May 07 |  Africa
Country profile: Morocco
26 Apr 07 |  Country profiles



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific