For the children of Ghavaga Kindergarten in Guadalcanal Plains, having new sanitation facilities is a first step towards a healthy physical learning environment benefiting a child’s learning and health.

Last week, some 75 children and their teacher’s received two toilets, with an additional four for their community.

“This is really a big achievement for the school and our little children as water and sanitation is one of our priority development plans for the school for the next three years,” said Alice Bunia, a kindy teacher at Ghavaga Kindergarten.

“We used to have one toilet for all these childrenso at times they either join the queue or seek to relieve themselves in the nearby bushes.It is my hope and desire to bring these children up in a healthy learning environment where they can enjoy life and become productive citizens of our country.”

World Vision has been working with communities in Honiara and Guadalcanal Plains who have been affected by the April floods by building and constructing toilet latrines as part of its recovery project.

Seven-year-old Lucianolearned new ways to keep himself clean through World Vision’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) promotion project and says that having toilets closer to his school and home is really good and saves him time spent on walking far to the toilet or to go to the bush.

“Our teachers encourage us to wash our hands everyday and before and after we go to the toilet. We used to wash our hands in the bucket but now we use cups and containers because water becomes dirty when we all wash in the bucket,” he said.

Sera Fina, 25, said her new toilet is an early Christmas gift for her family. We will treasure and sustain this gift for a long time to come for our children and hopefully their children’s children,” she said with a smile. “I am very happy that my three children would now enjoy using a more hygienic and sanitary place.

World Vision’s WASH technical Co-ordinator Teddy Irumae said thatthe organisation believes that children have a right to basic facilities such as toilets, safe drinking water, clean surroundings and information on hygiene.

“If these conditions are created, children go to school, enjoy learning, learn better and can teach their families good hygiene and sanitation practices. In this way, investment in education is more productive,” he said.

Apart from constructing toilet facilities, World Vision also conducted hygiene education aimed at promoting practices that would help prevent water and sanitation-related diseases, as well as promoting healthy behaviour for future generations.

World Vision Country Director, Janes Ginting said it is important to invest more in projects that benefitted children. “Children have the right to be as healthy and happy as possible,” he said.“Being clean, healthy and having clean water and proper sanitation facilities contribute to a happy childhood.”

Partnerships with donors such as the European Union, UNICEF and the Australian Government/DFAT have enabled World Vision’s water, sanitation and hygiene to respond to the needs of the communities who suffered during the flash floods in April this year.

Press Release: World Vision