WASH Programs in schools, women’s centers, villages
Every day, some 1,100 children in India die due to the lack of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Millions more will become seriously ill every year. Lack of proper sanitation is responsible for numerous diseases and deaths in India each year, and lack of toilets is a key reason why some 24% of girls in India will drop out of school as they reach puberty. Often toilets in schools, if built at all, lie in complete neglect, and are so stinky and filthy that even users would prefer to go anywhere else but in those toilets.
For these reasons, Divine Shakti Foundation and Global Interfaith WASH Alliance is working to bring proper WASH facilities to schools, women’s centres and villages.
‘We must not only worship the creator but also His creation, thereby service of humanity and the environment can also become our worship in action. Time has come that we collectively move from temples to toilets. The need of the hour and the true pooja is to work to provide adequate facilities for sanitation and clean water while educating and raising awareness about health and hygiene so that we ensure a greener, cleaner future for all.’
– Pujya Swamiji
Pujya Swamiji’s innovative approach to spirituality illustrates that while temples are needed to purify our thoughts, toilets are required to purify our bodies. Today the need has become not only for toilets but for bio-toilets in which the wastewater and material generated can be converted into methane gas, and its treated water can then be used to irrigate the soil.
DSF and GIWA’s unique WASH initiative works to bridge the gap from soil to soul, thereby moving from temples to toilets.
Each school and women’s center being run by Divine Shakti Foundation will be equipped with:
- Handwashing station
- Clean, private, functional toilets
- Biosand water filters – 2-3 per school
- Educational material – posters, handouts, etc. on handwashing and other issues related to sanitation and hygiene will be provided.
Programs will be planned and implemented through which each school and training center receives education about WASH and (for the girls and ladies) menstrual hygiene.
Short films will also be shown in the schools, training centers and also during the weekly medical camp visits.
Bio-Digester Toilet Technology
Bio-digester toilets represent the latest answers in sanitation. These toilets, developed by the Department of Defense’s DRDO, uses a harmless anaerobic process which naturally dissolves all waste. The only outputs are clean, odorless, virtually pathogen-free water, which can be used for irrigation. Clean biogas is also produced, which can be harnessed to provide power for households, entire villages, even automobiles! All of this is done without chemicals, for an environment that is clean, green, healthy and serene.
LMS Degree College Toilet Complex
His Excellency Dr Aziz Qureshi, the Governor of Uttarakhand, graciously inaugurated the newly constructed 8-cubicle bio-digester toilet for girls at the LMS Inter-college in Rishikesh with Pujya Swamiji, Founder of Divine Shakti Foundation.
Pujya Swamiji had visited the LMS Degree College in Rishikesh in 2013 to inspire and speak to the students. The LMS Degree College is one of the only inter-colleges (11th and 12th standard/grade) in the Rishikesh area, where some 4000 students attend, nearly half of them being girls. At the function Pujya Swamiji had requested to use their bathroom, and much to His dismay discovered the condition of the toilet facilities (only 3 for girls and boys) for the large student population, which were lying in complete neglect and were so stinky and filthy that even users would prefer to go anywhere else but in those toilets.
The toilets were built for girl students at LMS Degree College to encourage them to attend their classes in ease, and the boys were inspired to help construct the toilet structure for girls as a symbol of their support and pledge to respect and honor the divine feminine and protect the dignity and security of their female classmates.
The beautiful structure was made possible by the Emami Foundation who came forward to sponsor the project.
View plans of the LMS Degree College Toilet Blocks
Biosand Water Purification Systems
Divine Shakti Foundation and the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance are working to help inspire the bringing about of clean water filtration systems for every school in the state.
The systems, called Bio-Sand Filtration, are made from all-natural materials through a process developed by GIWA/DSF partners, the South Asia Fresh Water Initiative, Friendly Water for the World and others.
Taking the lead in producing the water systems will be women, including widowed survivors of Uttarakhand’s 2013 floods, so that they may be uplifted and empowered.
Bio-Toilet Reedbed Technology
Reedbed Filtration Technology is a tertiary-level natural filtration process to filter water output from bio-digester toilets. Special wetland plants are used to filter the water by dissolving solids, bacteria and pathogens from the waste water. Some biological media is also added in the reed bed so that the waste is further treated. The resultant water is clean and odorless. After running this water through a fountain, oxygen content is added to the water and it is ideal for irrigation and gardening.
During his visit to Parmarth Niketan (Rishikesh), Mananiya Bhagwatji inaugurated the latest Reedbed Filtration system, sponsored by the generous contributions of the Emami Foundation, installed at the ashram to offer tertiary treatment to the treated waters of the Bio-Digester toilets, which had been installed two years ago in partnership of FICCI and DRDO.
The system is a symbol of how institutions all over India can not only effectively treat their sewage water, but turn a great bane into a great boon by reusing the treated water for irrigation/gardening and harnessing the methane gas for energy.
Pujya Swamiji shared that by employing simple, cost-effective and efficient technologies, such as Bio-Digester toilets, Bio-Sand filters and Waste to Energy systems, at decentralized locations, we can revolutionize solutions to the pollution which challenge India’s stable and consistent progress and growth.
Promoting Hand-Washing in Schools
A majority of our world’s childhood sicknesses and deaths are due to the lack of good water, sanitation and hygiene, and many of these deaths can be prevented through the simple act of proper hand washing. DSF is working in schools to educate children on the crucial importance of hand washing with soap.
DSF has distributed bars of soap throughout the schools it supports in Rishikesh to all. Students there have pledged not only to follow the principles of proper handwashing but to teach and share that life-saving information in their families and villages.