World Toilet Day 2019: Leaving No One Behind
“I used to skip school because I was worried about using the toilet.”
12 year-old Indra’s disability means that she needs support at all times. Every day, a family member carries her on their back so that she can attend school.
This time last year, Indra’s school in Panchthar District, Nepal did not have disabled toilets. The school also did not have any running water, meaning that students couldn’t wash their hands.
In Nepal 20% of schools lack proper water and sanitation facilities, with an additional 19% lacking separate toilets for boys and girls, with no consideration for menstrual hygiene.
Indra’s school principal Dhanapati Sitoula reflects:
“In our school, students and staff were facing difficulty in accessing as toilets didn’t have a water supply. We were terrified of water borne diseases as we weren’t able to clean the toilet after using it.”
“Sometimes students had to go to strangers’ homes nearby if they wanted to use the toilet. This meant that students couldn’t concentrate in class. We used to get complaints about the smell too. We also lacked gender-separated toilets and disabled toilets. This made life very difficult for students like Indra.”
Simple changes making a big impact
Following a request for help, we built new toilets, taps and hand-washing areas at the school. We also built new earthquake-resilient classrooms so that there is enough room for students to learn in safety.
The toilets we built are child-friendly, gender-separated and accessible for disabled people. The toilets features grab rails, enough space to manoeuvre a wheelchair, and a ramp leading to the door for those who are unable to use the stairs.
Smiling, Indra told us about how the new toilets have helped her:
“The previous toilets were not comfortable to use. But now it is very comfortable and easy to use the new toilet.”
“I think the best part of the toilet is I can sit on it. It has a proper water supply too. I also wash my hands in new washing station.”
“Now, I am comfortable to come to school every day. Thank you for helping me and my friends.”
Indra’s school principal Dhanapati Sitoula added:
“Thank you for acknowledging the need of the students like Indra. Thank you GWT for reaching the needs of our students.”
World toilet day 2019
World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. The goal is to provide sanitation to all by 2030, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.
4.2 billion people live without safely managed sanitation and at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. This year’s World Toilet Day theme is to leave no one behind because whoever you are, wherever you are, sanitation is your human right.
Thanks to your support, pupils at Indra’s school weren’t the only people we helped in the Panchthar area. Last year, we constructed five water projects in the District, which meant that 2,731 people had access to clean water.