This year’s #WorldToiletDay proved to be the perfect opportunity to inaugurate a new toilet complex at one of the many schools in Rishikesh for which the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance works to provide sanitation and hygiene facilities. On the day, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji – Muniji and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatii, along with the Mayor of Rishikesh, Anita Mamgain, and other dignitaries, school faculty members and students, gathered together to celebrate the inauguration, and to encourage and empower the children to not only utilize the new facilities, but to care for them to ensure their continued and future service to the school.
To cries of “India First, Toilet Must,” Pujya Swamiji encouraged the children to not only use the toilet, but to love the toilet and, most-importantly, to clean the toilet, while Sadhviji suggested that “getting something new is always nice, but this isn’t like getting a new table or chair. You’re actually getting new toilets – something new that brings you health and life. When you don’t use toilets properly, and your health is bad and your stomach is bad and everything is bad, you can’t come to school and study properly. And, that’s also bad.”
Sadhviji also said, “To serve the nation, you need your health. In order to do seva for the nation, you need your bodies to be clean and healthy.” She then encouraged them to respond to the question, “Desh ki seva kaun karega? (Who will serve the people of the nation?)”, to which they all responded, “Hum karenge, hum karenge, hum karenge. (We will, we will, we will!)
Today on #WorldToiletDay what a joy to spend time & empower the #children as we inaugurate a new block of #toilets our @wash_alliance has built at a #Rishikesh school (just one of the dozens of schools where we built toilets). #WorldToiletDay2019 #sdg6 #GlobalGoals #ToiletDay pic.twitter.com/ehXHLaIxvX
— Sadhvi Bhagawati (@SadhviBhagawati) November 19, 2019
This most-recent toilet installation is one of dozens that GIWA has inaugurated in the past few years, part of an ongoing effort to improve @WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) for North India’s growing school-age population. And, there’s no sign of this toilet programming slowing down or stopping anytime soon – the list for these badly needed facilities just continues to grow.
The Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA), of which Pujya Swamiji is the Co-Founder and Chair and Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswatiji is Secretary-General, is the world’s first initiative that is engaging the planet’s many faiths as allies in efforts to create a world where every human being has access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and proper hygiene. GIWA was launched by UNICEF at UNICEF Headquarters during the United Nations General Assembly Meetings in New York at an event sponsored by USAID and the Government of the Netherlands.