Kol Toma School Water Project – Albania

This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.

Vele Village, Mirdita, Albania

Community Description
The village of Vele is part of Mirdita District and the Prefecture of Lezhe, in Northwest Albania. It has a total population of approximately 720 inhabitants, most of whom are farmers who depend on their own agriculture and livestock.

Vele, located 7 km from the town of Rubik, is a mountainous village that sadly lacks road infrastructure, businesses, and public buses, which makes it very difficult for residents to move outside the area. There are only two main institutions in Vele, the School Kol Toma and a health center.

The people of Vele are very humble, friendly and kind. They are proud of their heritage and Vele’s history. According to recent research by historians, Franciscan priests opened the first Albanian school in the village of Vele in 1832.

Since 1946, after the liberation of Albania, Kol Toma has provided the kindergarten, elementary, and middle school programs to promote literacy.

Problem Addressed
The structure where Kol Toma School operates was renovated in 2005. The bathrooms, part of this renovation, only functioned for a year. This was the result of inadequate strategic planning and failure to follow regulations.

Pjeter Heci, the Municipality’s plumber, stated that the installations of the water and sewer pipes have not been placed correctly according to the hydraulic laws of Albania. The location where the school was built is on an uphill area and the soil is very dry. This prevents and blocks the sewer water from flowing to the septic tank.

This forces the girls to go to their homes to use the bathroom. Particularly, when the girls are going through their menstrual period, many of them prefer to use the bathrooms at their home for hygiene. While some will return to school, others will stay at home.

Boys and teachers are also obliged to go to their home to use the bathroom, or if they find themselves in a “rush situation” they opt to go outside in the forest surrounding the school facility. This creates a dirty and contaminated environment around the school, promoting disease.

Project Description
This project is to build 2 bathrooms and provide the necessary water supply and sewage systems.

The school has two available rooms in a favorable location to be converted for use as bathrooms. The rooms are located on the downhill area side, one-meter from the sewer line that is connected to the septic tank.

Each bathroom will have 1 sink and 2 toilets (2 western toilets for girls/2 Turkish toilets for boys). The four existing flusher cisterns will be transferred to the new location.

The project will take about two weeks. In addition to the fixtures and piping, doors will be renovated (handles, locks, and metal pieces to all doors and door stalls).

The Mayor of Rreshen Ndrec Dedaj will support the project by covering the labor on the municipality’s payroll. The plumber and the engineer from the Municipality of Miredita assisted the Peace Corps volunteer to assess the current need at Kol Toma School and prepare the budget for the materials needed to relocate the bathrooms.

The engineer prepared a site plan for a better understanding of the project relocation. Mr. Pashk Ndoja, a private carpenter who is a well-known individual within the community, evaluated the conditions of the doors and determined which should be repaired and which needed replacement.

The Director of Kol Toma School, Gjin Bunaj, the teachers and the parents will donate a total of 15.900 Leke. This money will be used to buy toiletry supplies such as soap, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies.

Project Impact
This project will benefit 72 students, 9 teachers and parents/visitors

Peace Corps Volunteer Directing Project
Pier Vernaza.  Pier previously completed the Mother Teresa School Bathroom Project – Albania.

Monitoring and Maintenance
The supplies and maintenance of the renovated bathrooms will be the responsibility of the Municipality of Miredita and Kol Toma School. Teachers and the Director of the school will jointly collaborate in this effort to inspect and keep up the maintenance of the bathroom facilities.

A week, after completion of the bathroom project, a health nurse and the Peace Corps Volunteer will organize and provide two classes about healthy practices and civic responsibilities through the “Ore Educative” program. A health nurse will teach the “Glittery Germs” lesson to the 1st and 2nd-grade students so they can start developing healthy practices from a young age. The students will visit the bathrooms during the class and will be instructed to throw the toilet paper in the trash, wash their hands after using the toilets and how to use the toilets in a careful manner.

Let Girls Learn
This project is part of the Let Girls Learn program started by FLOTUS Michelle Obama in partnership with the Peace Corps. The goal of this project is to keep girls attending school. It is a part of Water Charity’s Let Girls Learn Initiative – Worldwide.

Fundraising Target

Donations Collected to Date

Dollar Amount Needed

$0.00 – This project has been fully funded through the generosity of Wilco Krul, of Einhoven, Netherlands.

This project has been completed.  To read about the conclusion, CLICK HERE.