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Tibet Matters Annual Review: Sanitation in Spiti – £10,187

Grant Amount: £10,187

Spiti is a remote valley in north-west India. It is home to many ethnic Tibetan families and is one of the poorest regions of India.

The altitude and harsh climate of Spiti means it is cut off from the rest of the country for months at a time as the heavy Himalayan snows make passes and roads impossible to cross.

Of the 3,000 school-aged children across Spiti valley, 500 go to Munsel-ling school and 300 of these live at the school throughout the year.

The 178 girls who live and study at Munsel-ling currently share just six toilets and showers between them. Their only toilet block is one kilometre walk from the main building and dormitories. During the winter nights, the girls have to walk there alone, in the dark, through heavy snow drifts.

If someone needs to go to the toilet during school time, they have to take 20 or 30 minutes out from their lessons to make the round trip… a big disruption to their studies!

Open defecation has become a big problem with girls not having time to make the round-trip. As a result contamination of the water supply is common and every year at least 60 pupils fall ill with dysentery.

We have given a grant for the school to build a new toilet and shower block much closer to the school building.

This will give girls much better access to toilets and showers; instead of 30 girls to one toilet, there will now be 12. They will no longer have to make lengthy trips to the toilets and so will not miss more than a couple of minutes of class to use the loo! Their health will also improve.