When Nhat Bang’s mother came to pick him up, he insisted on going to the bathroom just to show her the brand new school toilet. This heartwarming incident is just one example of the excitement that has engulfed Hoang Mai Special Education School in Ho Chi Minh City. Over 100 students at the school have been eagerly awaiting the completion of the newly renovated toilets.
A Much-Needed Upgrade
After three weeks of construction, the school now boasts two modern toilets with multiple stalls and sinks. These new facilities are not just functional but also aesthetically pleasing. The building is well-ventilated, with ample natural light streaming in through ventilation cells and a skylight on the roof. On sunny days, the room remains bright without the need for electricity. Additionally, there is a lighting system on the ceiling that fills the room with light when turned on. The toilets are adorned with a large mirror, hanging potted plants, and illustrations from textbooks, all of which have sparked joy and excitement among the students.
Filled with Joy and Gratitude
Like Nhat Bang, Tuong Vi often finds himself hiding behind the door just to catch a glimpse of the new toilet. Despite being cognitively slower than their peers, these students have noticed the positive change in their school toilets and are eager to share it with their parents. Mr. Long, a parent, was pleasantly surprised when his child took him to visit the new toilet. He couldn’t help but feel happy and grateful for the improvement. It is moments like these that reaffirm the importance of providing a conducive and inclusive learning environment for students with special needs.
A Generous Gift
The new toilets at Hoang Mai School are not just a result of routine maintenance or regular upgrades. They are a gift from the “Dream Bathroom” program, a collaboration between the school and INAX, a renowned Japanese company specializing in bathroom equipment. INAX sponsored all the necessary equipment for the renovation, including toilets, sinks, taps, showers, ramps, tiles, lights, and decorative plants. A team of construction workers from INAX also took charge of demolishing the old toilets and building the new ones, ensuring every aspect of the project was handled with expertise and care.
Addressing Longstanding Challenges
Prior to the renovation, the school’s toilets had been deteriorating for over a decade, causing numerous inconveniences and safety concerns for the students. Clogged drainage pipes, foul odors, and dampness were common issues that plagued the old toilets. The sink and toilet were also worn out, with many chipped areas. Consequently, many students developed a fear of using the toilets.
Moreover, some students required assistance to use the toilet, relying on strollers or booster seats to reach the facilities. The small and dimly lit toilets often left them feeling unclean, with debris clinging to their bodies. These challenges, coupled with the limited capacity of the children, made using the old toilets a distressing experience for them and their teachers.
Bringing Light and Hope
The transformation of the school toilets is not only a physical upgrade but also an emotional one. It has instilled a sense of dignity and confidence in the students, who can now use the facilities independently and comfortably. Architect Bui Hoang Duy, who spearheaded the redesign, emphasized the importance of accessibility and inclusivity in bathroom design. He ensured that the new toilets catered to the unique needs of students with disabilities, providing wide doors and wheelchair-friendly paths.
For the school principal, Ms. Tran Thi An, receiving this gift was a dream come true. In a touching gesture, she wrote a letter to the “Dream Bathroom” program, expressing her hopes for a Christmas present that would brighten up a difficult year for the children, mired by the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ms. An’s letter was accepted, leading to the realization of her dream and the fulfillment of the students’ wishes.
Christmas came early for the students of Hoang Mai Special Education School, thanks to the generosity of the “Dream Bathroom” program and INAX. This beautiful gift not only improved the physical infrastructure of the school but also brought joy, hope, and a renewed sense of dignity to the students. It serves as a heartwarming reminder that small acts of kindness can make a big difference in the lives of those who need it the most.
To learn more about Truth and Hope and their inspiring initiatives, visit Truth and Hope.