“It’s difficult to find a job when you didn’t get to go to school,” said Stanly, a father of four from Chigwere, Malawi. “Our parents didn’t send us to preschool because there were no toilets – it wasn’t sanitary or safe. And that’s the reason we failed to complete higher education; that’s the reason we farm rather than looking for a job in town.”
After missing out on an education of his own, Stanly is passionate about his children having access to education. “It’s very important to have toilets in a school for a child’s health.”
Recently, the village of Chigwere built their very first preschool. But without toilets, sanitation quickly became a serious issue. Some children had to walk as far as 45 minutes to their homes in order to use a toilet. And some children had no options for toilets.
Stanly and the rest of the parents were worried about the risk of serious diseases, such as cholera or diarrhea. So they decided to take action for the good of the children.
Families worked hard to gather necessary resources to build toilets. When the project was finished, they had enough materials to build, not one, but two toilets.
Stanly said during the process, he and the others gained new skills, like how to write a proposal for the needed materials, project management and construction.
“To me and my family, it’s like a dream to have school toilets within the community,” Stanly said. “I hope this will open the door for many more projects to come.”