For children with disabilities, even the simplest tasks can become significant hurdles. Among the challenges, the absence of inclusive toilet facilities has long been a pressing concern. However, at Tendruk Central School in Samtse, this challenge has finally been addressed. As the only educational institution in the district with a Special Education Needs programme, the school has recently unveiled inclusive toilets, designed to cater to the specific requirements of students with disabilities.
Until now, students with disabilities at Tendruk Central School had no choice but to use the regular toilets, which often proved to be an uncomfortable experience.
The newly constructed toilet, catering to both male and female students have a sitting toilet or western-style toilet equipped with supportive handles to provide necessary assistance for children with disabilities. The toilets also have a sensor-based WASH facility for students with movement and co-ordination difficulties.
“The old toilet is located a bit far from the classrooms and we cannot take the wheelchairs down there. As such I have been managing my son’s inconveniences by making him wear diapers,” said Sapna Thapa, a parent.
Many parents have lauded the effort, expressing that such facilities are a requirement not just in schools but also in their homes.
“For my kid I, need two people to assist me when he has to use the toilet. So, I bring my other child as well. I am very happy with the new facility. And since the rented house at which we are currently staying does not have toilets like this, we face a lot of challenges. It would be better if toilets everywhere have such facilities for children with disabilities,” said Gaki, another parent.
Beyond its immediate benefits, the new facility is also expected to foster a sense of empowerment and self-reliance among students with special needs.
“Now, with such a toilet, we feel like it will be very helpful for those children who are on wheelchairs as well as for those with walking difficulties. Some children cannot climb stairs and as a result, at times students use to fall down. But now with this toilet, we can always direct them and train them because it is accessible,” said Tara Devi Giri, SEN coordinator at Tendruk Central School.
To ensure children with disabilities have access to inclusive toilets, UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development initiated the construction of inclusive toilets in schools with Special Needs Programme earlier this year.
With the new inclusive toilet, over 70 SEN students in Tendruk Central School will have improved access to sanitation.
Passang Dorji, Samtse
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