Blog post courtesy of Eileen Burke, Director of Media and Communications at Save the Children.
“The surrounding area of the school has poor sanitation,” explained Surya Prasad Bhatta, a teacher at Chaudyal Lower Secondary School in Kailali District of Nepal, where Sarita is a student. “The students would usually have to go on the river bank or in the jungle due to lack of toilets. It was difficult for them.”
Sarita’s story is all too common among school-age children in developing countries. Many children have limited or no access to a bathroom during the school day. According to UNICEF, nearly two out of three schools in poor countries lack adequate sanitation.
School-age girls like Sarita, especially those who have reached puberty, are vulnerable to missing school or dropping out when there are no private and safe toilets available.
Save the Children will join with other organizations around the world to draw attention to the global sanitation crisis on Friday, Nov. 19, World Toilet Day,. It is part of the global humanitarian organization’s effort to help children stay healthy and stay in school.
Want to get involved? Here are some simple actions you can take on World Toilet Day:
- Share some surprising sanitation facts.
- Share (#worldtoiletday) and through email. The video highlights the importance of installing child-friendly toilets in schools for boys and girls so they have a private and convenient place to go to the bathroom.
- Live near Washington, DC? Visit the Bathroom Pass Exhibit
- Learn more about World Toilet Day and Save the Children’s School Health and Nutrition programs.
- Ask friends and family members to join you in helping to provide a school in Ethiopia with a latrine.
- Plan your own World Toilet Day event at school, home or work, and tell us about it on Facebook.
As for Sarita, two years ago through a Save the Children-supported program the school built four new toilets for boys and four new toilets for girls.
“Things are different now,” said Sarita. “We use the toilet, and we don’t have to stand in long lines because we have enough of them. There is privacy, and it is less time-consuming.”