Educators and learners at seven schools in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape now have access to improved ablution facilities, thanks to the efforts of Toyota Material Handling, a division of CFAO Equipment South Africa, in collaboration with the Department of Education and EnviroSan Sanitation Solutions.
This after research by the Department of Education suggests that as many as 3,898 schools in South Africa, mainly in rural areas, still use pit latrines, which can place users at risk of, amongst others, contracting life-threatening infections and viruses.
Arveen Ramdhani, Head of Human Capital at CFAO Equipment South Africa, says replacing pit latrines with proper toilet facilities at the schools the company supports provides a safer and more hygienic environment for educators and children alike.
“The initiative promotes greater human dignity and is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goal 6, which calls for access to water and sanitation for all.”
Toyota Material Handling believes that learners require access to clean and safe water, as well as proper functioning ablution facilities, to reach their full potential. “With the assistance of local casual labourers, each school was fitted with new toilets, including the addition of Jojo tanks,” adds Ramdhani.
Each tank can facilitate 25,000 hand washes before requiring a water top-up. The tanks were installed as a back-up for the schools to address possible water shortages.
Furthermore, Toyota Material Handling has ensured that each facility is well maintained by signing a service agreement with the Department of Education, whereby a dedicated caretaker has been appointed to oversee all maintenance activities.
“We take pleasure in putting others first to allow them to perform to the best of their abilities. As a business, our diversity and agility allow us to tackle any challenges that arise, including implementing solutions that will better the lives of learners who could potentially be our leaders of tomorrow.
“Since 2018, we have provided six schools – four in the Eastern Cape and two in KwaZulu-Natal – with proper sanitation infrastructure, and are in the process of duplicating these endeavours at another school in KZN in the coming year. Collectively, more than 1,500 students and teachers have been positively impacted by these projects.
“Our sponsorship of sanitation facilities to schools in need is not a once-off activity, but part of our mandate to give back to the communities we operate in, creating entrepreneurial opportunities in the construction of the facilities, and ensuring that the activities we initiate are meaningful and sustainable,” concludes Ramdhani.