Rising to President’s SAFE toilet challenge ahead of World Toilet Day
Upgraded kitchen and no more pit latrines at North West’s Sunrise Crèche
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to business to help eradicate dangerous pit latrines from schools has been taken up with a recent intervention that saw new flush toilets installed at Sunrise Crèche, an early childhood development centre in Ga-Motla, a small town in the North West.
‘Leaving no one behind’ is the theme for this year’s United Nations World Toilet Day, which is commemorated on 19 November. One of Medipost Holdings’ recent corporate social investment initiatives ensured that the 55 young children enrolled at Sunrise Crèche are not ‘left behind’ with the installation of new flush toilets.
“Previously, our school only had three pit latrines for the children and the staff members. Pit toilets are not safe, especially for young children, and for a long time we had been looking for funding or for the business community to help us build proper flushing toilets, which are much safer,” says Mgibe Kganane, who works at Sunrise Crèche.
Last year, President Ramaphosa launched the Sanitation Appropriate for Education (SAFE) initiative following a number of tragedies that occurred due to pit latrines still being used in schools. In terms of the initiative, companies were urged to help to improve sanitation at some 3 800 underprivileged schools that were still reliant on unsafe pit toilets.
Kgomotso Maapola, key accounts manager for Medipost Holdings, comprising Medipost Pharmacy, Kawari Wholesalers, MediLogistics and MediTraining Academy, says that the group wanted to make a difference through its corporate social investment activities by contributing to SAFE.
“Sunrise Crèche, which opened in 1990, is doing excellent work in early childhood development on very limited resources for the children of the Ga-Motle community. The staff were worried about the safety of the pit latrines, and we saw an opportunity to help.”
Medipost Holdings arranged for the pit latrines to be safely filled in, and in total seven flushing toilets were installed: three for the girls, three for the boys and one for the staff members.
“Not only are the new toilets safer and more hygienic, they allow the children and staff a greater sense of privacy and dignity, which many of us take for granted,” Maapola says.
Appreciating the importance of nutrition to early childhood development, Sunrise Crèche provides the 55 children in its care with nutritious meals but this was becoming increasingly difficult because the school kitchen was dilapidated.
Medipost Holdings renovated the kitchen, installing a kitchen unit, a kitchen sink with running water and a gas stove. A fresh coat of paint provided the finishing touch.
“Education and health have always been important to Medipost, as we believe these are the pillars of a more equal and prosperous society. We hope that the new toilet facilities and the upgraded school kitchen will help to make a healthier, safer learning and teaching environment for the pupils and staff of Sunrise Crèche.
“As we approach World Toilet Day, we would like to challenge other companies to help make school sanitation safer by helping to eliminate the last remaining pit latrines at schools as part of their corporate social investment programmes,” Maapola concludes.