Toilet facilities for the children in Gerupuk

There are no hallway passes for an hour-long bathroom break during school hours. But for the students at Pelita Learning Centre in Lombok, the only alternative to walking home and back to use a toilet, is the outdoors.

It’s why students here don’t have the luxury of uninterrupted class sessions. “The simple addition of a bathroom will really change things around for everyone,” says Sam Bryant, recipient of a $12,000 Reece Abroad Grant. “It’s great to be a part of that change.”

Lombok has had hard times of late, channeling time, effort and scarce funds to reconstruction after the earthquake in early August. Sam will be working alongside the Pelita Foundation to build and install toilets, basin taps and a septic tank for the school. Factoring in reconstruction work and holidays in December, Sam expects the bathroom facility to be completed by Christmas 2018. And in March 2019, along with partner Susie and daughter Stella, Sam will head to Gerupuk to get started on phase two – a long-term water solution.

Partnering with F-Cubed, a company that manufactures rainwater harvesting systems, Sam will use the remaining funds from his Grant to install a rack of panels at the centre. The panels harvest rain water and process it for drinking water primarily, as well as supply for domestic and other sanitation usage. One panel can capture up to six litres of water per hour and can convert up to three litres of drinkable water in the same time.

Used in Gerupuk where the dry season brings prolonged, severe drought, and where clean drinking water is a costly luxury, rainwater harvesting is a simple and effective solution. “It’s also sustainable,” adds Sam. “The water is purified by UV rays, and the only part of the system that needs power is the pump – and even that can be solar-powered.”

Sam’s work in Gerupuk will also involve conducting awareness classes at the centre.

“When we first visited, I helped out on a construction project nearby and Susie assisted with classes at the centre,” he recalls. “This time I’d like to continue some of the classes with her help – she speaks the language far better than I do!” The classes are something Sam particularly looks forward to. In the time he has already spent in Gerupuk, he’s seen the impact simple awareness can create.

“I was also really struck by how forward-thinking the community is,” he says. “It’s not something you’d expect to see in such a rural community, but they’re all really open to exploring any new possibility that can mean a better future for their children. And what we’re doing here…well, it’s such a small thing when you think of the number of people around the world who’ve got limited access to water. But even this little bit is water that this community never had, and it’ll spark a difference in so many ways.”

For more information on the programs run by the Pelita Foundation, visit www.pelitafoundationlombok.org.