World Toilet Day: Bringing clean and safe toilets to Nepal
Today is World Toilet Day, and a great opportunity to think about something we often take for granted: our loo!
There are 3.6 billion people in the world living without access to safely managed sanitation. When some people in a community do not have clean and safe toilets, it threatens everyone’s health and safety. Poor sanitation can contaminate rivers, beaches, crops, and sources for drinking water, spreading deadly disease.
We are helping to put a stop to this in Nepal, ensuring that the homes of Gurkha veterans, their families, and their communities all have clean and safe toilets.
Part of our programme includes installing gender-separate toilets in the schools we repair and refurbish. Historically, this has not only protected children’s health, but also improved students’ school attendance.
We aim for clean and safe toilets to be accessible to all children in Nepal. In one of our previous school projects, we built a disabled-friendly toilet for 14-year-old Indra, so she can access the block with her wheelchair.
Bringing safe toilets to a primary school
This year, the GWT will complete a water project in Thirbang, a remote village in Nepal’s hilly Baglung District. We are working toward providing sanitation education, toilets, and clean water to 167 people in the area, including Shree Bidhya Sagar Primary School.
Buddhisagar Buda, the primary school’s Headteacher, spoke of the struggles that the school faces in dealing with limited access to clean water and sanitation. “We don’t have an existing water supply system in our village, so we are in desperate in need of a well-managed system and potable water,” she said.
“Before the implementation of this project…there was only one toilet block with one urinal for all students and teachers. We know that proper sanitation is very important for our students to prevent waterborne diseases. Water supply is the main problem while accessing the toilets in our school.
“A lack of proper water supply and sanitation impacts student hygiene and the overall sanitation of the school. If our school does not have the water supply and proper latrines, then it can negatively impact attendance.
“We also do not have any disabled toilets in our schools. So, it is very hard for those students to access the toilet.”
In collaboration with UK Aid, our team is working hard to bring a clean water supply to Thirbang, install water tap stands in front of villagers’ homes, and construct a new set of toilets and handwashing stations at the local primary school.
Buddhisagar is looking forward to the impact of improved sanitation on students’ wellbeing. “I am delighted that our new school will have a resilient latrine infrastructure with proper water supply,” she said. “It is very important for our children’s personal development and growth. We value having a water supply and toilet in our school. Children used to fetch the water previously. But now they can focus on their education.
“Thank you to The Gurkha Welfare Trust and UK Aid for providing water in our rural village. Thank you again for the toilets and handwashing stations – as children are the future of our country, we want to provide quality education and sustainable sanitation and hygiene.”