People

28th November 2008 at 00:00

Teachers will know that one of pupils' top complaints about schools is often the quality of their toilets.

This is why a teacher from London is campaigning for better girls' loos at schools in India, a move that has inspired his pupils to bake toilet-shaped cakes.

Dai Jones, a teacher at Villiers High in Southall, in the London borough of Ealing, has set up the Loos Women campaign with the Child In Need Institute to raise funds to install toilets and fresh water wells at schools across the country.

Fewer than half of girls in India attend secondary school, and many are withdrawn from education by their parents at puberty.

A lack of girls' toilets can dissuade pupils from attending, or put them at risk of infections.

Mr Jones, who won secondary teacher of the year in London at the national Teaching Awards in 2006, heard about the problem on a study trip to Hyderabad earlier this year with the CfBT education trust.

"It's quite a taboo subject, but we want people to understand that without sanitation, the education of girls across the world suffers terribly," he said. "To build a toilet block for a school in India costs about Pounds 2,500, including the building itself, a septic tank and getting in the plumbing with clean running water so children can wash their hands easily."

Since returning, Mr Jones has inspired his pupils to organise a range of fundraising activities, including a bad hair day, a disco and selling the infamous toilet-shaped cakes.

For more details and to support the campaign, see www.ciniuk.org.

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