South Africa: Dangerous and Full Pit Latrines Replaced At Khokhwane Primary

The 451 children that attend Khokhwane Primary School in Pietermaritzburg will no longer be using filthy and full pit latrines. The Gift of the Givers Foundation has built the school eight new toilets. The toilets were officially handed over on Thursday.

School principal Mlungisi Nzimande said: "We are very happy ... It was sad that our school was in the media for having pit latrines which were in a bad condition. Today we thank the Gift of the Givers for fixing the situation by donating these toilets. The children will no longer be in danger."

"We are relieved," said a parent. "We won't have to worry about the dangers of the toilets."

Khulekani Kunene from the foundation said: "The project took only three weeks to finish ... We received help from the members of the community when building the toilets ... They are built with cement walls. Their doors are not easily damaged ... They are safe to use especially for young children."

Kunene said they had built toilets in many schools in the province that were using pit latrines - Greytown, Nkandla, Maphumulo, Durban, Qhudeni and Pietermaritzburg. He said some of the schools had directly approached the foundation.

"In schools where there is water scarcity we build toilets that are not flushable," he explained. "With the ones in Khokhwane [which are not flusable], the holes are protected with cement inside. We did that so that the toilets take at least six to seven years before they are full. Once they are full, the school will unscrew the whole seat so that they are emptied. That is the work of the department and the school."

He said the foundation also helps schools in other ways, with stationery and uniforms.

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