Six months before serving as the President of Rotary Club of Yala, I conducted a survey in various areas to identify potential projects for my tenure. One fine morning, Rtn Om Krishna Shrestha called me and informed me about a school where students were in need of WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) facilities. Without wasting time, we arranged a meeting with the Headmaster of the School, Mr. Gopal Pandey, and promptly visited the school. During our three to four visits, we observed students, particularly girls, waiting in long queues for restroom use.
In some rural parts of Nepal, the absence of proper school toilets is a major issue, causing girls to drop out or miss classes. Many schools lack sufficient sanitation facilities, especially for girls, creating challenges for their privacy, especially during menstruation. The government, NGOs, and communities are taking steps to address this. They’re building proper toilets, raising awareness about girls’ education, and challenging cultural taboos around menstruation. These efforts aim to ensure that more girls in Nepal can access education without the interruption of inadequate sanitation facilities.
Phulchowki Secondary School
Phulchowki Secondary School in Thaiba, Godawari Municipality, Lalitpur District, Nepal, covers 22 Ropani of land with four buildings. The main building, with 30 rooms, awaits renovation since the 2015 earthquake. Operating from Early Child Development to Bachelor’s level in limited spaces, the school accommodates 65 teachers and 1300 students, including 780 females. The constrained WASH facilities, impacted by the earthquake, result in long restroom queues during breaks, particularly affecting female students and causing them to miss lessons.
Water, Sanitation & Hygiene
In January 2023, an assessment team visited the project site and gathered feedback through questionnaires and conducted interviews with both teachers and students at the school.
Responding to the School Management’s request and after a field assessment of the current WASH situation, our club board decided to construct new toilets. The facilities will include 20-25 urinals and 6-7 cubicles for defecation, aiming to support academic and administrative discipline, and promote a clean and hygienic environment.
Gift of Dignity
The project is not just about constructing toilets but is also aimed at providing a sense of dignity to students, who will benefit from improved sanitation infrastructure. Ultimately, the project aligns with Rotary’s commitment to ensuring that every child benefits from WASH in Schools.
Cooperation & Resources
It’s quite encouraging to mention that the fund from Our Club Project fund, Phulchowki School, Our Sister Club Rotary Club of Jindalee (Australia), Members Rotarians (Gautam Shrestha, Shobha Shrestha, Pramod Sagar Pradhan, Surendra Gopal Shrestha, Dr Dinesh Lal Shrestha, and Om Krishna Shrestha) and Rotary District 3292 Nepal, Bhutan instantaneously committed to raise funds for needed resources to implement this WASH program in the School. The program targets to construct separate toilets for boys and girls, install water tanks & plumbing-flooring, and improve sanitation.
On December 16, 2023, the School Management Team, Rotarians, Anns, Rotaract, Interact, Teachers, and Students attended the project handover program organized by us.
The building of new toilets at the school has generated widespread joy among students. Teachers note a positive impact on the learning environment, while the school management team expresses satisfaction with the project’s success, recognizing its long-term benefits for both the school and the community.
Your School, Now Our School
I still remember that, as the President of the Club, I pledged to the School Management Team that it’s not just their school anymore; it’s now our school. I committed to building toilets for these needy school kids. I knew that funds were an issue, but I assured them that I would manage.
Today, the initiative has positively transformed the school experience for students, teachers, and the management team. I hope they will take care of the project from now onwards. I am very happy to share this success story.