More school toilets will encourage girls' education Recently, a female student in
her third year at university was reported to have a urinary system problem requiring
her to go to a toilet almost every hour. Last year, my neighbor died following a
long trip in which she failed to stop to go to the toilet. I have observed that many
women in different places in Cambodia, including my mother, my friends and villagers
I have met, have bladder problems.
What is the reason for this? Why is going to the toilet such a painful story
for Cambodian women?
Everywhere I go in the 20 provinces that I visit, I always hear stories about women's
poor urinary systems, especially for those who are 20 years old or more.
Can anyone conduct a study on the medical costs of this? How much does it cost per
family to have a wife, mother, sister and daughter who have a damaged urinary system?
It's time to recall the story about more than 5,000 girls who had to share a few
toilets in Bak Touk high school. After high publicity about the toilet shortage,
the school director ordered mobile toilets installed at the school for a few weeks
until four new toilets of a half meter length were built. Bak Touk high school girls
were so lucky, though only for a few months.
Now, thousands of them once again have to go back to toilet with the broken door
near the school administrative office because the four new toilets built for them
are too small and too dirty to use. The girls said the toilet stalls are so small
they cannot stretch their arms. And the water is too disgusting to be used for cleanliness.
Meanwhile the toilets for boys are ten times as large and are well equipped with
a large water reservoir. How can girls use the broken-door toilet without finding
someone to stand in front of the door?
Having so few toilets for thousands of students is not only damaging the girls urinary
systems but also undermining their education potential.
It also promotes violence. Girls at Bak Touk have to gather in gangs in order to
compete to get to the toilet before the school bell rings for the next class. Arguments
and threats often happen near the toilet.
In addition to the toilet shortages at schools, I would like to draw attention to
the garment factories where thousands of women have to stand waiting at the toilet
and where security guards or foremen record how many times they go to the toilet.
They often receive warnings for going to the toilet if they go more than once during
a four hour shift.
Ana Nov, Phnom Penh