One of the cold mornings of January when we would often be sleeping in our warm cozy bed, we packed our bags and headed to Jhule. The colder climate that was about to welcome us had us little anxious but then, we were more excited about the new work we were about to do.
After the devastating earthquake of 2015, four affected community schools of Jhule are being supported to rebuild school toilets (including girl friendly toilets) as well as drinking water and hand washing stations. With hastened and immediate use, these infrastructures could lack proper, safe and sustainable use. To bring about conciousness and behaviourial attitude regarding sustainable use of supported WASH facilities, we volunteered to organize ‘WASH Corner and Toilet Painting’ program.
Our two teams of counselors scanned two separate schools and started off the painting. Soon, we were surrounded by school students.
“Would you help us?”, we first asked students hovering around us. With gentle nods, interested kids lined up to receive brushes, paints and instructions. The idea was to guide and let them paint.
After allocating painting tasks, our work sped up. Gradually as the day went by, we painted meaningful messages that helped us deliver sustainable use practices along with a number of WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) related alerts. As much as we were excited to continue our painting even in the evening, the cold wind held a difficulty and we completed our paintings in our first school on the third day.
For rest of the three days, we collaborated our teams mobilized in remaining schools. In all the schools, students were excited and we offered them painting tasks and advices for sustainable use simultaneously. The result was truly satisfying!
“We don’t think any student would want to make these walls dirty”, said a participating student with a laugh.
“Besides decoration, these paintings have given a value. Thank you so much”, teachers shared.
We are glad our hard work was able to influence schools for better use of constructed facilities.
- Upama Tamla (Rai)