Lack of toilets keeping girls away from schools

Though more women-friendly toilets are built every year in the district, they have been dysfunctional because of water crunch and poor management

Bajura, December 16

Maya Baral, a ninth grader at Barhabisha-based Trishakti Higher Secondary School, does not attend classes during menstruation due to unavailability of a woman-friendly toilet in her school.

Maya said she had to stay out of the house for the first six days of menstruation and skip school for two to three days due to lack of proper toilet.

Tenth grader at the school Neera Bud shares a similar plight. “There is only one toilet in our school and it does not have water supply.

The lack of proper toilet makes it uncomfortable for me to attend classes during my periods,” she said.

There are as many as 350 girls studying at the school and more than 100 girls face the ordeal every month.

Satya Kumari Thapa a teacher at the school said girls were facing a hard time for want of women-friendly toilet. “Though there is an ordinary toilet at the school, it has been useless due to lack of water supply and proper sanitation,” she said.

There are as many as 58 higher secondary schools in the district and most of them lack women-friendly toilets.

“Though more women-friendly toilets are built every year, they have been out of order because of water crunch and poor management,” said District Education Office Bajura school inspector Dharma Raj Joshi.

The government of Nepal and various development partners have been investing millions on construction of such toilets.

However, the investments have gone down the drain due to poor management, as per Women Rights’ Forum Bajura Chairperson Rukmini Shah.

“Learning atmosphere for girls has been affected due to lack of proper infrastructure at schools,” she said, adding, “The number of girls not attending their schools during menstruation is significant.

Many of them quit classes for at least more than 36 days a year.”

Only five to six schools have women-friendly toilets in the district. “The unavailability of women-friendly toilets has discouraged many girls from attending school during menstruation,” said Women and Children Office Chief Keshari Rokaya.