The Fresh Life Toilet: Providing a Better Future for Young Women
Everyday, 16 year old Yusra Mohamed takes a 20-minute walk to school. This walk is a reminder of the constant struggle that the 8 million residents living in Kenya’s informal settlements face. Insecurity, unemployment, poor infrastructure and a lack of clean water are just some of the glaring challenges that Yusra has to contend with.
The one challenge however that hit closest home for Yusra was the lack of a clean toilet in her school.This is not surprising: only 45% of schools in low-income countries have adequate sanitation facilities.
“I did not like going to school because the toilets were very dirty and the doors were not working. Sometimes boys would peep at the girls and it was very uncomfortable,” Yusra explains. On some days, especially when she was menstruating, Yusra preferred staying at home to avoid the embarrassment, discomfort, and indignity of the dirty pit latrine.
When Yusra’s mother heard that a nearby school – Reuben Baptist had installed Fresh Life Toilets, everything changed. She immediately transferred Yusra. Yusra was only too happy to make the shift.The privacy of Fresh Life Toilets in Reuben Baptist School has offered not just cleanliness, but dignity for young women like Yusra. They are able to manage their menstrual cycle in a hygienic and dignified manner.
“We love the Fresh Life Toilets because they are clean, do not smell, and they have a sanitary bin. And no one can peep anymore,” Yusra adds with a smile. The school has also employed an attendant who ensures that the toilets are always clean, that the hand washing stands have clean water and soap and, of course, an extra measure of security.
Yusra has big and bold dreams for her future. She wants to become a doctor and help her community access healthcare. Thanks to a better sanitation experience, Yusra can work towards realizing that dream and much more.
Today is World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day serves as a reminder of the challenge faced by billions of people who still lack access to improved sanitation. In the developing world, women and girls are especially vulnerable to poor sanitation. Women and girls living without any toilets spend 97 billion hours each year finding a place to go. To join in on the conversation follow us on twitter @sanergy and like our facebook page