For Sarita, age 15, going to the bathroom during school used to bring fears of being bitten by a snake or the embarrassment of having people see her going to the bathroom out in the open.
“The surrounding area of the school has poor sanitation,” explained Surya Prasad Bhatta, a teacher at Chaudyal Lower Secondary School in Kailali District of Nepal, where Sarita is a student. “The students would usually have to go on the river bank or in the jungle due to lack of toilets. It was difficult for them.”
Sarita’s story is all too common among school-aged children in developing countries. Many children have limited or no access to a bathroom during the school day. According to UNICEF, nearly two out of three schools in poor countries lack adequate sanitation.
School-age girls like Sarita, especially those who have reached puberty, are vulnerable to missing school or dropping out when there are no private and safe toilets available.
To address this situation, Save the Children is joining with other organizations around the world to draw attention to the global sanitation crisis on Nov. 19. They've dubbed the event World Toilet Day.
World Toilet Day is a day to celebrate the importance of sanitation and raise awareness for the 2.6 billion people (nearly half of the world's population) who don't have access to toilets and proper sanitation.
Check out the World Toilet Day website to learn more. If you want to share the info with friends, you can add their, "I Squatted For World Toilet Day," bubble to your Facebook or Twitter pic. That's sure to garner a few interesting comments and help spread the word about world sanitation issues.