As part of their continued commitment to supporting the governments’ SAFE initiative, Tile Africa, a division of Norcros South Africa, recently assisted Nokwazi Junior Secondary School with new toilets for their learners. “This is the first of five schools that the company has pledged to assist with providing bathroom facilities,” says Rachel Imasiku, Legal Director and Company Secretary for Norcros South Africa.
The Nokwazi school had no pre-existing bathrooms, only pit latrines for the approximately 350 students enrolled there. Located two and half hours outside of Umtata, in rural Ladyfrere, Eastern Cape, the project presented the team with some unique challenges, foremost being the fact there was no running water at the school. A twofold approach was applied to solve this.
Once the construction of the building was complete, Enviro-loo, the manufacturer of a waterless dry sanitation system was contracted to supply toilets and urinals for the school. This system uses sun and wind to transform human waste into a safe, stabilised material without the use of water, electricity or chemicals. This contract includes a servicing agreement to maintain the installation for 2 years. Secondly, a borehole was drilled in order to provide water for the basins for learners to wash their hands. House of Plumbing, also a division of Norcros South Africa, supplied Gypsy resin-based basins for the project. These are extremely strong and don’t crack or chip as traditional porcelainware can. A paraplegic toilet was also installed to accommodate all users of the school.
“We noticed that there was no formal kitchen space for preparing the school meals, so we decided to go beyond the original scope of the project and provide a clean space for this,” explains Imasiku. The equipment and supplies for the bathroom project were kept in a storage container on site, during the 8-week build. Rather than remove the container at the end of the project, it was converted into a kitchen for the school, with running water piped into the sinks from the new borehole.
As with their association with the sani2c Jolivet community in KZN, the Tile Africa team took time to train community members in Ladyfrere on how to tile, in order to uplift their skills and so that future maintenance and repairs that the school bathrooms may need, can quickly be attended to. A supply of spare tiles and adhesives were left at the school for this purpose. The company’s commitment to the schools extends beyond the supply of bathroom facilities. “We have hired a cleaner to assist the school with keeping the facilities clean for the first 3 months, and we will be returning to the school before the end of the year, to supply toiletries and sanitary towels for the students. Tile Africa remains available to all the schools we’ve assisted for additional support and follow-up maintenance where possible” confirms Imasiku.
This commitment follows on from the work done by Tile Africa in 2018, when the company refurbished 5 Gauteng schools’ bathrooms with new tiles, toilets and basins. In addition to the upgrading of the existing facilities at these schools, the company provided a training workshop teaching learners the do’s and don’ts of toilet care, how to use the toilet properly, and when and how to wash hands. Posters encouraging good bathroom habits are supplied at these schools, and at Nokwazi Junior Secondary School.