Over 600 million Indians do not have access to toilets. The proportion is worse in rural India, where 68 percent of households don’t have their own toilets. Sanitation lies at the root of many development challenges and impacts public health, education and the environment. In a ruling, the Supreme Court said that it is mandatory for schools to have separate toilets for boys and girls, as well as drinking water facilities and these were integral to the right to education.
Essar Foundation and Essar Steel India Limited, Hazira have constructed a sanitary block in a co-educational school in Dihen village in Surat, Gujarat. MRC High School has 1200 students studying in classes 1 to 12 and around 50 teaching staff. 50 percent of the students are girls. The school earlier had only one sanitary block, which was not sufficient to meet the demand given the number of students. Thus, daily cleaning and maintenance was tiresome for the cleaning staff. The usage of water was also quite high.
The new sanitary block has two separate sections for male and female users. The male section has three urinals, two toilets, a bathroom and a wash basin. The female section has two toilets, a bathroom and a wash basin. An overhead tank has been placed to ensure water is available because cleanliness of the block depends on it. Providing adequate sanitation has eased the burden on the existing toilets. It has also positively affected the overall health of the children.