Toyota Sanitation Program
Manjula is a teacher at a school in India where, until recently, there were no toilets. Her tenure as a teacher has been comprised of a state of affairs in which, as she put it, “the girls would have to pass urine in the open.”
An absence of toilet facilities is a common problem afflicting schools in India and presents a very real detriment to female education, as it results in students dropping out of school. For girls to be able to continue to attend classes when they reach puberty, toilets are a basic requirement.
Manjula’s school now has toilets for girls, thanks to a local sanitation program spearheaded by Toyota. In fact, under this latest program initiated by TKM, 500 toilet units have recently been installed in schools and public facilities around the country: 250 in Ramnagar (Karnataka state), 125 in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh state), and 125 in Vaishali (Bihar state).
While Toyota’s presence in India may have started with the manufacture and sale of cars, it now involves building deep and meaningful relationships with local communities. Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), the company’s Indian manufacturing and sales arm, has strived for decades to find ways of improving lives around the country, and these efforts continue to expand and grow.
Achieving sustainable development of society is a core Toyota philosophy, and this is very much the case in India. In addition to providing employment to thousands of workers, TKM has made numerous contributions in the fields of education, health, hygiene, road safety, environmental issues, and skill development across the country.
This recent sanitation project builds upon work which has continued since 2006, in which over 420 toilets have been installed in homes near the company’s plant in Bengaluru, India, as well as six water purification units in nearby villages which have influenced the lives of 75,000 local citizens. Now, TKM is increasing the scope of its activities with a focus on aiding female students across the country.
Having built these sanitation facilities, TKM will maintain them for a period of one year. The company will also work toward educating children about the need for and the importance of using sanitation facilities, as well as furthering community awareness of the matter. The long-term goal of this project is to facilitate empowerment for women in India. The foundation for a healthy society for women around the world is a solid education, and this sanitation movement is one important step on the journey to that end.
Speaking at a very colorful inauguration event, Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Honorable Union Minister of Urban Development, Housing, and Urban Poverty Alleviation, expressed the stance of the government. “Good sanitation is critical to good health and is critical for the overall growth of a student,” he asserted. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Toyota Kirloskar Motor for extending its support towards critical issues such as sanitation and hygiene in our schools. Increased commitments from such like-minded corporate houses have greatly contributed to the Government’s aspiration of achieving 100% sanitation across India.”
The inauguration ceremony was filled with tradition and a strong element of celebration through song and dance. Among the crowd was a contingent of girls who will be benefitting from the new sanitation measures implemented in their schools.
In conjunction with this project, TKM has also taken the initiative to aid whole communities by helping to purify local water supplies. Diseases and toxins are often widespread in water sources such as those in and around Basani village, which is located near Varanasi. Early in 2015, TKM identified that the water was unfit for drinking as it contained heavy metals which are hazardous to human consumption. The toxins were affecting a population of approximately 15,000 people in Basani and two other villages nearby. A new high-tech water purification unit installed in Basani village represents a meaningful step forward in health and hygiene.
During the ceremony, Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada spoke on behalf of Toyota to say, “I wholeheartedly support the ‘Clean India’ initiative. Toyota is proud to be a part of such a unique nationwide initiative which has various benefits to the future growth of this country.”