Imagine this. You are a single mother of three children living in Kenya. You desperately want your children to get an education, hoping that will boost their chances of living more comfortably than you do now. You can barely afford food. The local school is about three kilometres away and has crowded classrooms.
The toilets at the school look like this.
Your kids are often sick with diarrhea and vomiting. Your thirteen year old daughter is in class seven. She as just stared menstruating. These toilets, with broken doors, are the only place she can tend to her monthly needs. So she stays home from school four or five days a month and subsequently gets behind with her studies.
At CanAssist we hear stories like this all the time. We see these deplorable sanitation facilities at schools. It startles us to find that in busy village markets there are no sanitation facilities at all. Adjacent fields and gutters turn into raw sewage minefields.
With the support of our donors, we try to help.
In the past couple of months we have been gratified to follow the construction of latrines at the Twiga school in Ruriru district of Kenya. For a cost of about $7500 we have been able to provide rainwater catchment, new latrines for students and teachers and hand-washing stations for the school. Hand washing has been shown to reduce the spread of many diseases but without the proper facilities this becomes impossible.
This week we received this report from Michael Gichia who works with the Murera Community Empowerment and Support Organization (MCESO) . It reads, in part:
Benefits realised from the project.
“The project has brought about the following benefits to the school children in TWIGA PRIMARY SCHOOL;
o The project has improved access to water supply at TWIGA PRIMARY SCHOOL in Ruiru District
o The project has brought positive perception among the school children on sanitation and personal hygiene e.g. hand washing practices, proper disposal of wastes and economical use of water as well as improved knowledge about hygiene and environmental sanitation;
Now, imagine again, as that poor African mother, how pleased you would be that your children had decent sanitation facilities at their school.
CanAssist has been happy to be able to improve the sanitation facilities for these 550 Kenyan pupils. We have had specific support for much if the cost of this project from the Grey Gates Foundation in Vancouver and from friends and family of Ruth and Don Redmond in celebration of their 65th wedding anniversary last year.
CanAssist has just taken on similar projects in other schools in Kenya and Uganda. If you or your family would like to help to bring smiles to the faces of African students and their teachers, you can give a tax-deductible donation to CanAssist by mail or online. Details about how to support a project like this a re available on our website www.canassistafrica.ca