Built Futures in Madagascar Thanks to Wateraid America

Can you imagine not having the opportunity to use a toilet during the day? What if your kids had to go to the bathroom in an open area behind their school?

Up until now, this was the norm for the children and teachers of Tsimahavaobe Primary School in the growing and very poor coastal town of Morondava, Menabe region of Madagascar.

Remember my post about building futures in Madagascar with Wateraid America back in the beginning of July? (If you missed it, read Building Futures in Madagascar with Wateraid America.)

Well the construction is now complete, and those children and teachers will be going back to school with a safe place to use the toilet and access to clean water. There are separate stalls for boys and girls and a handwashing station.

Not that it’ll be a big surprise. According to Ernest Randriarimalala, WaterAid’s field staff, pupils at the school were so excited about the changes taking place at their school during the summer, they preferred to play in the schoolyard so they could see the day to day changes during construction.

Even in the summertime, pupils are always around the school to see the day to day changes. Tsimahavaobe primary school, Morondava commune, Menabe region, Madagascar. July 2013.

Even in the summertime, pupils are always around the school to see the day to day changes. Tsimahavaobe primary school, Morondava commune, Menabe region, Madagascar. July 2013.

I was given the opportunity by Wateraid America to ask questions of the field staff in Madagascar who would then relay my questions to the children and families. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to ask at first, so I talked to my kids about what they wanted to know about the project in Madagascar. Biz (age 4) wanted to know about the animals and what it was like to live there. G (age 8) wanted to know about the school, what kind of games the kids played and how they got water.

Reading some of the observations from Ernest, who took the time to ask many questions in the field (for me and others), it was clear that these children were not focused on playing games and learning in school. They talked about how they would miss school a lot because they would be sick and it took an hour and a half to get to the health center.

“The spring used to get dirty from water flowing down the hill. It made us ill.”

They talked about how they were afraid to go in the old latrine when it rained because the clay on the walls would fall down.

“When it rained, we used to go in the bush.”

Thanks to the new toilet construction, where these kids once were forced to openly defecate, the children can now play.

Pupils playing in the cleaned area behind the school building that had previously been used for open defecation. Tsimahavaobe primary school, Morondava commune, Menabe region, Madagascar. July 2013

Pupils playing in the cleaned area behind the school building that had previously been used for open defecation. Tsimahavaobe primary school, Morondava commune, Menabe region, Madagascar. July 2013

The teachers are planning their hygiene training for the kids to help prevent disease, and there’s a development action plan for the school for the first time. According to the head teacher of the school, Aimee, “It was unthinkable because we were in a dirty environment and drinking dirty water and were not able to think any further than that. What is happening here now is something magic! Parents, pupils and communities are all talking about it.”

That’s something to celebrate.

kidsjumping

Read more from Wateraid: Building is complete

Photo credit: WaterAid/ Ernest Randriarimalala

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Comments

  1. says

    This is so awesome.

    Every Thanksgiving, I always say I’m thankful for toilets and toilet paper. I couldn’t imagine not having them both, or even one. The closest I’ve ever came to not having a toilet was at a music festival and it was awful. People using the bathroom on the ground left a putrid smell and an unhealthy walking area.

    So happy to see these kids got a sanitary place to use the bathroom and access to fresh water.
    MomChalant recently posted..Teen Pregnancy Is More Acceptable Than Being GayMy Profile

  2. says

    The first thing I make my kids do when they get home from school is wash their hands. Germs on the hands can spread communicable illnesses so easily. I can’t imagine my kids not having clean water or a bathroom to use at school for that matter. This just gave me a huge dose of gratitude.
    Ilene recently posted..Jersey Girls Don’t Pump GasMy Profile

  3. says

    Wow. I seriously can’t imagine what it must be like to have no place to go to the bathroom. We just take for granted all the little things we have. We are annoyed when someone uses up the last square and doesn’t replace the roll. A whole new perspective.
    Leah recently posted..Back to SchoolMy Profile

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