Flashy Flushes in School


“This is the start of a curriculum of cleanliness.”

This was not something associated with Portland High School’s toilets only a few days ago.

Since the start of the school holidays, contractors have been repairing and replacing the ablution facilities at the school.

Thanks to sponsorship by a company based in India, the school’s toilets will receive a complete makeover.

This will include new toilets, basins, paint, ceiling boards, mirrors, doors, windows, soap and toilet paper dispensers and urinals in the boy’s toilets.

The much-needed facelift is long overdue, says teacher David Herbert.

“The toilets were in bad shape. The windows, toilet pots and ceiling boards were demaged. The organization recognized the pitiful conditions our pupils have to face every day and decided to assist in the cleaning and upliftment of the facilities,” he says.

Portland High School was chosen for the project because visits to other schools revealed that Portland’s toilets were in the worst condition.

Work formally started on Monday last week and is set to be completed before the school reopens in two week’s time.

The project was funded in full by Sulabh International.

“Portland High was introduced to Sulabh through a series of interactions we had with a ward committee member at the Mitchell’s Plain council,” says Heather Reed, project coordinator. “Following an investigation and meeting with the school principal and school governing body, we agreed to the much-needed toilet renovation. The Portland project is funded by our founding organization in India. Funds have been made available from India for this project as well as a few other school projects. However, our primary method of funding is from donor organizations.”

Sulabh International is a sanitation NGO that has built more than 1 million twin pit toilets in rural India and 8000 public toilet complexes in India’s city centres.

“We are also involved in sanitation training, promoting hygiene and sanitation internationally with the objective of promoting a cleaner, more hygienic environment,” says Reed.

“Our plans for South Africa are to renovate school toilets as well as construct and maintain public toilets. Our immediate plans are to renovate toilets at 15 schools across Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.”

The ablution facilities at Portland High School are receiving a much-needed makeover. The School is getting a complete revamp in both the girls and boys’ toilets in three weeks.

Portland High School is the first high school in South Africa to receive such a complete revamp, says Farieda Moses, chairperson of the school governing body.

The school will also start a sanitation club, consisting of the senior pupils, prefects and members of the representative council of pupils.

“They will make sure that the toilets are kept clean and monitor them,” Moses says.

Herbert agrees: “We want the children to take pride in the toilets. It must be as clean as their toilets at home,” he says.

Herbert adds that the toilets have fallen into disrepair at the hands of the school’s own pupils. “The vandalism takes place during class time and intervals. With the monitoring we will make sure the toilets stay clean,” he says.

The school has also employed someone to be in the toilet full-time, Moses says.

She adds that there is going to be a system implemented as soon as the new school term starts.


The ablution facilities at Portland High School are receiving a much-needed makeover. The schools is getting a complete revamp in both the girls and boy’s toilets in the next three weeks.