School Washrooms ~ Karanai, India
Over the last four years WaterBridge Outreach (WBO) has developed a working partnership with Save Int'l on a series of grassroots projects in Tamil Nadu, Southeast India relating to books and mobile libraries, clean water and sanitation. Although Save Int'l is a US-based non-profit organization, its outreach is focused on those in need in Tamil Nadu.
When the Elementary School at Karanai, Tamil Nadu desperately needed toilets for the use of the children, WBO partnered with Curt Degler, executive director of Save Int'I, to provide basic washroom facilities at Karanai School. Otherwise, like almost half of the population of India, the children would have to defecate in the open. The lack of basic sanitation is only too often a source of diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid. To say that this is not helpful for the education of the children is a serious understatement!
The photos accompanying this text show the toilets being constructed. They also show some of the younger children at the School, together with Curt Degler of Save Int'l, and Peter Coughlan, executive director of WBO.
The United Nations has deemed November 19th to be World Toilet Day to draw attention to the fact that 2.5 billion people of the world’s 7 billion do not have access to a toilet – despite the human right to water and sanitation. This has dramatic consequences on human health, dignity and security, the environment, and social and economic development. Having to defecate openly infringes on human safety and dignity. This, as the UN agencies point out, holds particularly true for women and girls, who lose privacy and face shame having to defecate in public, or – after painfully holding their bladder and bowels all day – risk attack by waiting until night falls. Prime Minister Modi of India has called for action to change the situation in his country and spoken of the need to provide basic sanitation for all of India’s huge and growing population. One can only hope that this call to action will produce the desired results over the coming years.
Save Int'l and WBO are convinced of the crucial importance of education and sanitation, and in continuing to provide books and other learning materials, along with clean water and sanitation that help provide an environment in which the education of girls and boys is both possible and successful. This grassroots project at Karanai is a wonderful example of their team work, and why they hope to continue working together on other such projects in the future.