Presentation on theme: "Surrounded by luscious tea mountains, Vivehalaya Tamil Vidyalaya in Lindula, Nuwara Eliya District provides education for 364 children that come from the."— Presentation transcript:
Surrounded by luscious tea mountains, Vivehalaya Tamil Vidyalaya in Lindula, Nuwara Eliya District provides education for 364 children that come from the nearby tea-estate communities.
Not so long ago, the students of Vivehalaya did not attend school regularly because inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, combined with poor hygiene practices made girls and boys fall ill every day.
240 male children had just two toilets that were unclean and unhygienic without water facilities inside.
The school’s poor sanitation, water and hygiene conditions particularly affected female students and denied their right to education because they lacked private and decent sanitation facilities.
“We did not like to come to school those days. We had 2 toilets that were often blocked and dirty. Younger girls preferred to use the bushes. But we couldn’t do that. Older girls would stay away home from school, especially during menstruation.” said P.Nishanthini.
16-year-old P.Nishanthini (1at from L) is sitting for her Ordinary Levels examination in December 2013. She is delighted that WV Lanka’s Rural Integrated Water Sanitation and Hygiene project (RIWASH) has made a timely intervention to provided her school with proper water and sanitation facilities. With only a few months to prepare for the exam, Nishanthini never misses a single day of school now as she often did before.
Nishanthi’s classmate, 15-year-old M.Pradeep, is also sitting for the Ordinary Levels exam in 2013. According to Pradeep, before RIWASH 2 project, boys, too, were not enthusiastic about coming to school everyday.
“Since both primary and secondary sections are housed in one building, sometimes it can get very noisy. But, in the past, because of the offensive toilet smell, we could not come out as a class and take lessons outside as we do now. This affected secondary school students most.” said, M.Pradeep
RIWASH 2 provided 3 urinals and 3 toilets for male students.
Female students now have 4 toilets with secure, private sanitation facilities that includes a vanity area with water taps serving 4 sink consoles.
Students are now able to use the play area where 2 of the male toilet units are also located.
Secondary school students can have their lessons outside the congested classroom area since all latrines are kept clean and ordor-free.
RIWASH 2 has provided 4 hand-washing areas installed with water taps and sink consoles.
Hand washing areas for the primary section has also paid attention to the height of the water users so that junior students can easily reach the tap.
Besides providing WASH facilities, RIWASH 2 has also facilitated the provision of personal hygiene awareness and hygiene practices to students.
Both primary and secondary level students now wash their hands every time they use the toilet and also during their interval.
Students lining up to wash their hands and teaching each other ‘what is the best way’ to wash hands has become a common activity.
The school also has taken measures in conjunction with RIWASH 2 to reinforce personal hygiene messages among students.
At the end of the hygiene awareness program, students and the teachers have formed a health club that has enabled them to conduct health, hygiene and environmental conservation oriented activities not just within the school, but also in the estate communities with a view to taking critical information to their families and communities.
The school organised a procession to celebrate the World Water Day on March 22, 2013. After walking through different estate communities, the procession ended up at a nearby school where they shared information on the importance of saving water.
Kavin Nisha Alagasami is the teacher who has given leadership to the school’s health club. According to Nisha Alagasami, the health club-led activities such as gender sensitization and socialization,and hygiene awareness activities have helped raise the students’ confidence and leadership.
Senior students like Pradeep and Nishanthi have become agents of change taking upon themselves the responsibility to disseminate the knowledge they gained in the school among family members and community members. This way the families and community members are able to learn information and adopt hygiene behaviours in a non-intrusive and gradual manner.
40 –year-old K.S.Indrani, Pradeep’s mother, said: “Previously we did not know how to wash our hands properly. What Pradeep and my daughter learn in the school have been useful to improve our hygiene behaviour at home. We now wash our toilets regularly and wash our hands the right way.”
“Whatever my daughters learn in the school is practiced at home. There have been quite a few changes in their personal hygiene behaviour that we have also started internalising. With direct access to water given by RIWASH 2, we have improved our personal hygiene, including keeping the toilet and bathroom clean and washing our hands frequently.” said P.Pushpika(2 nd from R), Nishanthi’s mother.
After RIWASH 2 provided direct access to water, their parents have converted a section of the house into a bathroom so that Nishanthini and her two sister’s have privacy and secure bathing facilities.
As a result of a decision made by the health club, senior students in Vivehalaya Tamil Vidyalaya has revived youth clubs in their estate communities. S.Nishanthini has been working hard to organise hygiene promotion activities through the youth club.
“Our youth club is making plans to conduct hygiene awareness and hand-washing training for pre-school children on the estates. Apart from that, we are also putting together a street-drama to communicate important health, hygiene and environment conservation messages to our communities.” said S.Nishanthini
Youth club organises regular meetings with their community members to discuss how they can improve the health and hygiene behaviours in their families.
With the support obtained from RIWASH 2, Vivehalayam Tamil Vidyalaya has adopted and activated a comprehensive, multifaceted, and integrated approach to promoting healthy, safe and positive learning environment for its students.