October 2021.

Working in close collaboration with the Blouberg Municipal District, Limpopo Department of Education, and Capricorn North Department of Education, in the Limpopo Province, Soutpan Solar Power has identified four schools, situted in Maleboho East Circuit, to benefit from a school sanitation infrastructure support programme. As a priority, the schools are receiving permanent toilets, with the first eight installations currently underway at Boikhutso Primary, in Bochum.

The Enviro-Loo sanitation toilets were selected as the ideal solution, due to the severe lack of water infrastructure in the province, especially within the rural communities that surround Soutpan Solar Power.

“This is a priority programme for us, forming part our of socio-economic development education programme, which promotes access to safe quality learning in our beneficiary communities. Hence, the reports of learners in these rural communities missing classes in order to source water from areas located a long distance from their homes is what initiated the need for this programme,” said Harrisinah Theka, Economic Development Officer for Soutpan Solar Power.

The Principal of Boikhutsho Primary School, acknowledged and highlighted the many challenges that are faced by both learners and teachers at the school. There have been concerns raised and noted by both learners and parents regarding the state of sanitation infrastructure, particularly the lack of privacy for learners as some of the toilets are exposed in the open, with no structure.

“The dignity of our learners is not protected. The lack of adequate sanitation facilities presents many challenges at our school. The learners do not feel safe as the toilets are in no safe state to be used by anyone. Teachers are having to share the mobile rented toilets with the Grade 7 learners, which adds to the tensions in classrooms, since there is no longer privacy. Hence, we are grateful for this initiative as it is an opportunity to restore dignity in our school and also improve our teaching and learning environment greatly. Learners, at last, will be able to concentrate in class without having to worry about the burden or fear associated with toilet facilities,” said Mrs MF Raphadu, Principal of Boikhutsho Primary School.

The schools that will benefit from similar installations include Boikhutso Primary, Bochum; Dithebele High School, Marobjane; T.P Seakamela Primary School, Marobyana; Raphatlha High School, Sefihlampyana; and Ramatema High School, in Rammutla.

Soutpan Solar Power, has also introduced improved water infrastructure at Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, to ensure that young children and staff have access to clean and tested water. The project included assessing ground water availability, drilling to access water, installing the necessary borehole equipment and lastly ensuring that water sample were laboratory tested to ascertain safety and suitability for drinking, cooking, washing, and agriculture.