January saw the culmination of the college’s engagement with the ‘Toilet Twinning’ charity. This national organisation seeks to raise funds to provide safe latrines, clean water and hygiene education in some of the world’s poorest nations. Schools, colleges and other institutions are invited to ‘twin’ their toilets with a latrine abroad.
In a series of charity drives starting in 2011 Loreto students have raised over £9000 for the cause, enough to provide toilets for 138 families. Loreto is proud to be the UK’s first ‘Toilet Twinned college.’ Most toilets in the college now boast certificates showing their ‘twins’ in Burundi, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Chad, complete with colour photographs and GPS coordinates. The latest push, which began last September, raised over £3000 for toilet blocks in Haiti and saw students enthusiastically joining in a range of activities from male leg waxing to sponsored silences, henna hand painting to cake baking, and numerous other enterprises.
Coordinator of the initiative at Loreto, Head of Hall Helen Gettings, observes that: “Some of our students come from poor backgrounds themselves and the families of many come from countries all over the world, including some where we’re funding toilets, so they’ve been very keen to get involved – and have been very generous. Sanitation is a basic human right and it impacts on every other aspect of your life, from health to women’s safety. We’re particularly proud to fund school toilets as they are proven to reduce drop-out rates, especially for girls.”
At a special presentation event held at the college in January Tim Lovell, representing Toilet Twinning, praised the achievements of our students, remarking that: “Loreto is an inspiring example of the impact young people can have when they are fired up by compassion and a sense of injustice. It’s very moving when UK students reach out to their peers abroad, recognising that things we take for granted, like toilets, are so often lacking elsewhere. Latrines are life-savers so Loreto students should feel very proud of the huge impact they’ve made in some very poor places.”