A hardworking Ellesmere Port student has helped to make a difference to a community in India.
Youth and community student Lois Muir, 20, visited Kulya, just under 200km from state capital Bangalore in southern India, with sustainable development charity Raleigh International in 2015.
There she saw first-hand the impact of limited toilet facilities in the small village.
Lois, who attended Whitby High, said: “When I first arrived in Kulya last year there were very few sanitation facilities in the village.
“The three main toilets were at the local school but they did not have working taps for people to wash their hands afterwards. This meant that people in the community were more likely to get sick.”
Lois volunteered for 12-weeks in India working alongside Indian volunteers on a water and sanitation project to improve toilet facilities in Kulya.
She explained: “We began by replacing the taps in the toilets with new working ones so that the community could wash their hands.
“There were many leaky pipes around the village which was wasting water so we created taps which would allow the community to control the water flow.
“We also started to build more toilet blocks for the community as this would prevent open defecation around the village.
“We dug holes and bases for the latrines and then worked with the village to build the walls around the toilet blocks.”
One year after her volunteer placement, Lois continued to have bonds with her host community and returned to India to review the impact of her Raleigh project.
She found the toilets her team had built were still in good use and were making a difference.
“It was great seeing all the sweat and hard work from our Raleigh project was successful as the community are still using the toilets we built and had kept the health information we provided,” said Lois.
“Now that they’re using the toilets, less people are at risk from the dangers of open defecation and it has lowered the cases of sexual assaults in the village.
“All the success in Kulya could not have been done without the help and support of the community, my Raleigh team and all of our fundraisers who donated their money.
“I am proud that our project work, such as building toilets, fixing taps and providing workshops, are still making a difference in Kulya.
“I know now that sanitation in the village will continue to improve and that the community are keeping up the work we started.”
While Raleigh International has ceased work in India, Raleigh volunteers are continuing to contribute to water and sanitation projects in Nepal, Tanzania, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Borneo.
The not for profit organisation allows people aged 17-24 to become involved in projects of genuine value to communities around the world.