|The pupils of Arianayagipuram School are being taught the importance of washing their hands after each use of the toilet.|
At the Arianayagipuram school in the village of Panchayat, tanks for storing clean drinking water have recently been installed, as have separate toilets for boys and girls. Education for girls can be supported and fostered by something as basic as a girls-only toilet. Parents are more likely to keep their daughters in school if they believe their child’s safety and dignity will be protected.
The school’s 230 pupils are also receiving an education in basic hygiene. They are being taught the importance of washing their hands after each use of the toilet, and are taking up the responsibility of maintaining clean latrines themselves. At the end of the school year, the children are rewarded with gold stars from UNICEF for their efforts.
For many students at the Arianayagipuram School, school is their only opportunity to obtain proper hygiene education. And a child taught the link between good hygiene and good health can then become a health educator for his or her own family.
“Now our school is very clean and beautiful. We are making the best use of our toilets, and disposing of wastes only in waste pits. We have safe water to drink, and nobody gets sick any more,” says Vinthiata, a schoolgirl at Arianayagipuram.
At the Roundtable on ‘Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education for Schools’, held in Oxford, England on 24-26 January 2005, UNICEF has asked the world to help bring safe water and sanitation to each and every school globally.