Here is the first article submitted for the ’Tell Us a Story – for pride and a prize’ contest launched in February 2010 Source Bulletin No 59, submitted by Ms Vijita Fernando from Sri Lanka.
Sitting under a tree watching the final stage of a water project to give women of Bandaragama water on tap, I noticed the swollen feet of the woman sitting next to me.
“I teach in the school here. My school day sometimes stretches to eight hours. We have no toilets in the school and I have to wait till I go home to go to relieve myself…. Sadly, even the teenage girls go to the bush to relieve themselves……but as a teacher I can’t do that. We need toilets for our school…my feet are swollen due to urine retention, the doctor tells me… Water provision is fine, but what about toilets for our schools?” D.M. Renuka, head of the coeducational school in her village asked me in whispers.
That brief conversation was the entry point to a project which provided hygienic toilets to her own school and twenty seven other schools in the Bandaragama area during the period 2007/2009. The Decade Service (DS), a consortium of 38 Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) was financially assisted by the Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) in this effort. Targetting schools which had no toilets and then those which had unusable toilets in a deplorable state, the DS built 41 toilets where the need was most urgent within the first three months of the project. (more…)