A life-size papier mache toilet has made a big splash in an award-winning campaign by students to twin college toilets with latrines in poor countries.
The group, from the Uniformed Public Services (UPS) section at Newcastle College, created their unique collecting bowl to raise funds for Toilet Twinning. The initiative raises funds to enable people living in poor communities to have clean water and a decent toilet, and to learn about hygiene.
The 17-year-olds also created a children’s story book to raise awareness of the dangers of poor sanitation in a project for their BTEC Level 3 diploma, for those intending to pursue a career in the emergency or armed forces. They also gave presentations around the College, encouraging their peers to value and respect their own toilet facilities.
Their efforts won them first prize in the College’s annual ‘Embracing Diversity Awards’ – £150 prize money which they donated to Toilet Twinning.
The Toilet Twinning project was one of many undertaken by different UPS groups, focusing on themes as diverse as stop-and-search and Alzheimer’s. Another group, who won an award for their educational docudrama about ‘legal highs’, also donated their prize to Toilet Twinning.
Seventeen-year-old Falah Amer, who is studying Criminal Justice at Newcastle College and planning a career with the police, said: ‘The experience was very rewarding. We gained a wider knowledge of the struggles of some people in this world – and it shows how privileged we are in the UK. Hopefully, we will take our living conditions less for granted in the future.’
Students have already displayed a special certificate in one of the ladies’ toilets at college, to show it is twinned with a latrine in Burundi, and they plan to extend their fundraising efforts next term.
It was Learning Mentor, Neal Terry who introduced the idea of Toilet Twinning to the group. Neal has a long-standing personal interest in international development and fair trade – and community development and human rights are key components of the BTEC diploma course.
‘The group have been really enthused about their fundraising and have really taken the issue to heart,’ commented Neal. ‘I’m delighted by the sheer energy they have put into making all this happen.’
Toilet Twinning CEO, Lorraine Kingsley said: 'It’s appalling that so many people worldwide still lack access to essentials such a proper loo – especially as deaths related to diarrhoea are easily prevented with simple, low-cost solutions. We’re so grateful to Newcastle College students and staff for their support.'