“Coming to school is no longer a problem for us”, says Sonia, eleven year old girl from Rajasthan
Today Sonia is happy to act as a prime minister of the child cabinet of Kanyala Ghata Primary school in Rajasthan, India. She mentions with a smile: “Coming to school is no longer a problem for us. My friends and I are very happy that Hiralal sir met the senior members in the community and started having discussions and meetings with them. Our parents were also called to attend these meetings.”
Sonia points to UNICEF supported work at in their school and how engaged their teacher Mr. Hiralal is to the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)project and spreading the word of clean water, sanitation and hygiene to the whole community. Sonia is a member of Child Cabinet which is a school based council of students who guides students and communities with sanitary issues.
“First we were very curious to know what was happening concerning our school. Soon we were overjoyed when Hiralal sir came to classroom and explained us about water, sanitation and personal hygiene and how the child cabinet can from now work more actively around these issues as toilet and water facilities in the school were being suitably repaired”, continues Sonia.
Kanyala Ghata Primary school has a strength of 125 students enrolled in grades 1 to 5 and is located to hilly and semi-arid Dungarpur District in southern Rajasthan. In the village where the school is located, health and hygiene issues were very low on people’s priority and there are only few natural sources of water in the district.
“Very soon we saw a lot of changes happening; toilets were made functional and group handwashing station was installed in the school campus to enable us wash hands before having our food and after using toilet. Sir also spoke to us about ‘safe water’ and now we know that drinking water should be pure (uncontaminated) for us to remain healthy.” Sonia points out.
Sonia points out the results of UNICEF supported WASH-project at their school which has been a success and not only students but the whole community is now conscious of the importance of clean water.