After a near-death incident due to unsafe pit toilets, Jongimishini Public Primary School pupils can now breathe a sigh of relief after a new ablution facility was recently donated to the school.
MEC for education Fundile Gade with officials from Old Mutual and Liquid Gold Africa handed over the much-needed facility at the Intsika Yethu Municipality-based school.
Principal Viwe Nosakhele Dinga said the school was established in 1974 had an enrolment of 178 scholars. She said pupils were taught under extremely poor conditions. “In 2017, a tragic incident took place when one of the pupils was rescued by the school caretaker after almost falling into a pit toilet. The pupil had injuries and bruises and was rushed to hospital. I had to plead with the department to provide us with a structure because we had an old building without proper toilets for the children. I sent a petition to the Eastern Cape provincial legislature in Bhisho to assist because it was hard for children to relieve themselves. It was a high risk. This donation will make a huge difference at the school,” she said.
Chief executive officer and founder of Liquid Gold Africa, Orion Herman, said in partnership with Old Mutual, the handover of the “dry sanitation technology” was in aid of safe sanitation in schools in the country. “We have invented a urinal for both males and females that does complete separation of urine and faeces so that the children are not exposed. It is more hygienic. We convert the toilet resources into a natural fertiliser for food security. We are living in a water-scarce country where there is no infrastructure to handle our waste. Now, we are using a different thought process to make it safe for the children.”
Herman said following the reported incidents of young people falling into pit toilets the company saw it as an opportunity to come up with an innovation to handle the situation.
“We were fortunate enough to be funded by Old Mutual to deploy this technology and work with the MEC for education to identify schools in need. We have four Eastern Cape schools that we have supplied with our technology and are working with stakeholders so we can finally eradicate pit toilets.”
In his speech, MEC Gade said: “This handover is a serious matter because it defines how government must be able to respond to the safety in schools, starting with children drowning in pit toilets and the dignity of our people. It is evident that we need leaders who can think outside the box. This partnership with Old Mutual and Liquid Gold must go a long way to resolve problems that have been persistent. The minister has 8 400 schools that are not safe in the country and the province share 1 566. If you think the government alone can resolve that in a short time, you would mislead people. That is why I call upon other service providers and the business sector to ensure they contribute massively to the education space in the province.”
Gade and officials from the education department also donated 100 pairs of school shoes to the children.