Veteran, pioneering beauty industry professional, Helene Bramwell of The Mask in Parkview, Johannesburg, has launched the Donate-a-Loo Schools Project to help alleviate South Africa’s severe sanitation issues in schools.
Says Bramwell: “This cause is devoted to providing safe, reliable and decent sanitation as a means of restoring dignity. The Donate-a-Loo solution conserves water resources, requires no expensive reticulation or sewage treatment plant and comes with a maintenance plan for the recipient school. We look forward to rolling out this initiative to schools in South Africa and surrounding areas as and when we receive funding.”
She reveals some frightening statistics relating to sanitation – in rural areas of developing countries, nine out of 10 people practice open defecation.
“Every 20 seconds a child dies as a result of poor sanitation,” continues Bramwell. “Only a quarter of total water & sanitation funds are spent on sanitation. Some of the challenges we are facing in South Africa include schools that have no sanitation, or insufficient sanitation, or sanitation that is not fit for purpose (i.e. not age appropriate). Then there are those schools with pit toilets, which are dangerous as children can fall into them. Meanwhile, other schools have been provided with sanitation but have not yet demolished their pit toilets.”
Bramwell notes that lack of access to proper toilets leads to all sorts of health problems, including contaminated drinking water. Every year 361,000 children under the age of five die due to diarrhea, which is linked to poor sanitation and contaminated water.
Companies that have sponsored Donate-a-Loo toilets to date include Professional Beauty South Africa and Futurethis, with donations from a few salons, Eskel Jawitz and Charities Unlimited. In addition, Rotary New Dawn in Parkview has adopted the project and will give it their support.
Says Phil Woods, commercial director of Professional Beauty South Africa: “We are hoping to motivate Professional Beauty UK to support the Donate-a-Loo cause, as well as the UK Rotary Club.”
The Donate-a-Loo project centres on the Dry Sanitation Toilet (i.e ‘Enviro Loo’). As its name suggests, this is a dry, waterless sanitation system that requires no water. It is a permanent installation that doesn’t need expensive reticulation or sewerage infrastructure and is odourless under normal operating conditions.
In addition, no chemicals are used with this system, which requires only minimum servicing and maintenance. The toilet needs no electricity or power source to function and has a non-polluting, zero discharge system. It works using sun and wind, allowing liquids to evaporate and solids to dehydrate. Separation of liquid and solid waste are ensured.
The cost per single toilet is R21,254.88 and includes site clearing, excavation, installation, building and labour cost, transportation and accessories for six units.
Anyone wishing to sponsor a toilet, or make a donation, can email the Donate-a-Loo project team on email@example.com.