Changing lives with inclusive toilets
How inclusive toilets are securing the wellbeing of children in monastic schools
Trongsa: “I like the new toilet in the school,” says Sangay Tenzin. “Now we don’t have to wait in the queue to use the toilet anymore.”
Sangay, 10, who enrolled at Thubten Choeling monastic school in Trongsa, central Bhutan four years ago is aware of the problems novices like him faced when the school did not have proper toilets. Some defecated in the open while the younger ones used to wet their beds.
But for almost a year now, the 75 child monks including two with disabilities at the monastic school in Trongsa, central Bhutan have been accessing inclusive toilets. The Council for Religious Affairs (Dratshang Lhentshog) with support from UNICEF Bhutan constructed the new inclusive toilets at the school.
One of the teachers, Rinzin, said the new toilet has immensely helped the children and the school in maintaining sanitation and hygiene.
"Before we only had three units of toilets, which was not enough and so children had to wait in queue to use the facility,” he said. “Today, children have easy access to the toilets. The toilets are well lit with enough water, which makes it convenient for children to use.”
The school also teaches children about the importance of sanitation and with the monks taking turns to clean the toilets, the new toilets are the school’s latest pride.
With a new inclusive toilet, the school is now well-equipped to enroll more children and to provide them with holistic education. Principal Trulku Jigme Dongpa Tenzin said the school has sports facilities, teaches art and has three English language teachers.
“We want children to want to study here and we are doing all we can to make the school a safe place for children to learn, play and grow,” he said. “During winter vacation, children call me saying they want to return to school. They like being in school and the new toilets have made being in school even better.”
Sangay agrees. “The new toilet is big and clean and because we bathe regularly, we don’t fall sick often."