The Unilever 'Cleaner Toilets. Brighter Future' project has embarked on a campaign that will raise awareness of the importance of functioning and hygienic toilet facilities at school and invite members of the public to donate toilet rolls to schools in need.
Launched yesterday on 19 November 2012, World Toilet Day, it is supported by Lloyd Cele, musician and toilet activist. He has been working with Unilever's Domestos brand to increase awareness of the dire state of toilets at South African schools and says the lack of toilet rolls is a factor in learners attending classes.
"When I was at primary school I can remember the toilets being unhygienic and that there was never toilet paper," he says. "Not only did we refuse to use the toilets, heading off into the adjacent veld instead, because we had no toilet paper, we even used our school books. Not having toilet paper might sound insignificant but it makes a difference to the dignity of a child attending school."
Spokesperson for Domestos, Diane Laban adds, "How many parents can say they know that their child's school toilet facilities are adequate; that the toilets are clean and hygienic and that there is enough toilet paper in the cubicles. Inadequate facilities lead to absenteeism from school and affects learning.
From Cape Town to Cairo
"The campaign aims to collect thousands of toilet rolls to supply renovated toilets with toilet rolls for 2013. We are hoping the numbers are such that the toilet rolls could stretch all the way from Cape Town to Cairo.
"While this might sound extreme, the situation faced by thousands of learners on a daily basis is also extreme. Even though access to adequate sanitation is enshrined in our constitution as a fundamental right, for a large percentage of South African schools improved hygiene conditions still remain a distant reality."
Members of the public are invited to pledge a toilet roll for South Africa's learners by SMSing their name and the words Brighter Future to 36810. They can also 'Like' the Facebook page.