Can you imagine your child using a filthy, germ-infested toilet that doesn’t flush? Probably not right?! I can’t too, because we are lucky to have access to beautiful, clean and well-maintained toilets at home, school and work.
What about those who don’t? What about the voice-less? The parents and children out there, that are desperate for brighter future prospects, but have to put up with humiliating conditions and disgusting toilets for years and years? They do it because they have no choice – education is their only way out of poverty.
Sadly, only a few of our children are privileged enough to access clean toilet facilities at their schools.
Only 8000 out of 24 000 public schools in South Africa have flushing toilets – that is a measly 33%!!
What does this tell us?
That thousands and thousands of our children are exposed to germs and illnesses caused by poor hygiene and sanitation. It is mostly our township schools that are affected, and having grown up in Soweto, this could have easily been MY reality too. That’s why I’m taking a stand against the sanitation crisis in South African schools, as we observe World Toilet Day. Phat Joe sums up exactly how I feel about this issue in this video:
How does poor hygiene and sanitation in schools impact our children?
Frequent and severe illness, such as diaorreha
Reduced school attendance
Absenteeism of teachers – which results in poor academic performance – affecting bursary opportunities etc. – it’s an endless, vicious cycle.
What can you do to support this cause?
It’s easy for us to turn a blind-eye when something doesn’t personally affect you, or maybe you think that it’s too big of a problem for you to do something about, but together our small efforts create a substantial change.
1) Educate your own children on good hygiene habits
2) Support brands that truly care about creating a bright future for our children. As part of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan, Domestos has given 400 000 children in 475 South African schools access to improved sanitation, through the Domestos school renovation and hygiene education programmes, resulting in less illness and increased school attendance.
Since 2010, Domestos has renovated 26 school bathrooms and the result in those schools was that attendance increased by 80%.
3) Share this post in support of the #WeArePissedOff campaign and follow the hashtag/conversation on social media this World Toilet Day.
Modern Zulu Mom