Achal Agarwal: Children can Move the Needle on Sanitation
Naina (name changed), aged 13, no longer has to wait for eight hours to reach home before she can use a clean, safe toilet and does not miss school during her periods any more. Bhaskar (name changed), having stumbled over broken tiles and potholes, would shamefully resort to using the shrubs outside his school. Not any more, because his school toilet is now repaired and well lit-up. Naina and Bhaskar both study in government schools where children suffer innumerable difficulties and indignities in not being able to access safe and clean toilets.
Globally, 2.5 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation. Lack of basic sanitation affects people's dignity and escalates the spread of life-threatening diseases that can be fatal to children and their families. Governmental bodies and world leaders have increasingly called attention to the sanitation crisis by organising events such as World Toilet Day and more recently, by including "access to water and sanitation for all" in the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.