Bal Basic School is situated in Mahankal Rural Municipality in the Lalitpur district of Nepal. The school provides early childhood care and, development and education up to year 3. All the children attending the school are from Tamang community which is an ethnic group of Nepal.

The 2015 earthquake destroyed the school toilets and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) facilities, and left the school severely damaged. The School Management Committee and Parents Teachers Association members rarely visited the school and the neglect became demotivating for the teachers and affected the quality of education the school could provide. Because of the status of the school, many parents chose to send their children to another school which was more than an hour away. The number of students at Bal Basic School dropped to 27 from 105, an all-time low.

In 2019, we started a project with Voice of Children (VOC) to rebuild the toilets in the school and improve WASH literacy among the students, families, community, and staff. For safe drinking water, Biosand filters were installed, and the WASH committee members were taught how to clean and maintain them. Students were sensitised on the best WASH practices, how to wash their hands properly and waste disposal, and were engaged in practical learning on keeping their classrooms and playground clean.

VOC supported the School Management Committee and Parent Teachers Associated to take ownership of the students’ wellbeing and access to quality education in the school. These groups started coordinating with the parents of students to encourage them to continue sending their children to the school. The parents were invited to visit the school and see the new construction and WASH facilities, which grew their trust in the school and management staff.

The school now has 67 students enrolled. These children have a better access to education and WASH facilities, and the staff work hard to ensure children stay enrolled in school and do not drop out.

“The project not only built the infrastructure in the school but also raised awareness among students, teachers and parents regarding sanitation and hygiene. The WASH Coordination Committee now regularly monitors the WASH facilities and children’s development.”

Mrs. Pratima Tamang, School principal