Back to school – working toilets and tooth brushing
To remind you of the problem:
The problem …5 non-functioning toilets, no hand washing, no teeth cleaning, little water and unsafe court area.
HH encountered this lack of basic facilities when our partners CHDS (Nepal) and Rotary were trying to establish a tooth brushing program, in parallel with the two current sanitation projects in nearby villages, at the local school. Their aim was to establish hand basins for teeth cleaning and hand washing …the lack of working toilets was a saddening surprise.
The local villagers and school staff emphasised the importance of the toilets, hand washing and tooth brushing program and noted that many young girls will not attend school if there are no toilet facilities and the boys must use the surround edges of the playground ….so the situation is very bad.
We need to make some basic changes to allow existing toilets to be repaired and newer toilets to be drained so they can be used. Then install and drain hand basins for hand washing and teeth cleaning.
The school has offered to contribute water tanks and labour / money to help the works but we need more and urgently.
When a Sydney art gallery, Art Atrium, proposed an exhibition of drawings by Australian architects, some older HH drawings from the 1980s (on how to improve housing in Indigenous communities) were framed and exhibited.
A drawing similar to those sold detailed how houses could be improved incrementally to improve health.
An artist and art lover with a strong connection to the world of architecture purchased the drawings and the money was used to improve the school.
The school committee provided water tanks, basins and some labour and the CHDS team (who are currently building toilets for the 2 villages served by the school) added a septic tank, renewed all the toilets and the area surrounding. The school has agreed to maintain the upgraded facilities and the waste water from the new septic tank is now irrigating a garden tended by the school kids.
The area before the works were commenced with a rough sketch of the potential improvement presented to the school committee.
The planned works to improve the 5 toilets, add hand wash / toothbrushing basins and provide a new septic tank and drainage.
The finished product: working toilets, basins, more water, safe disposal of the waste water and a safe courtyard
Despite being a school holiday, it was a happy crowd that accepted the newly renovated and functioning toilets. The project links teeth and toilets or more formally the Healthy Living Practice ‘removing waste safely’ and a preventative oral health program now able to be run at the school.
These timber racks will hold each child’s toothbrush and each will be labelled with each child’s name.
HH thanks all those involved.