Children can be agents of change. When they learn new thing from the classroom they spread that into their families and communities.
“Now-a-days I wash my hands with soap before eating and after eating, I also wash my hands after playing,’’ said 14-year-old Suntali Tamang, she learnt that after attending health and hygiene orientation, organized by Compassionate Hands For Nepal in her school premise. Speaking softly and with a little difficulty she added: “The hand washing activity is good for me to know more about health. Now I eat balance diet and also brush teeth twice a day.’’
Personal and environmental hygiene practices were very poor in the Jyamire community of Sindhupalchowk district. Due to lack of awareness, most people were defecating in the open field. They did not have the habit of washing hands after toilet and before and after meal. Lack of proper hygienic and sanitation practices leads outbreaks many diseases in the community.
But now children are being the agent of the change in Jyamire village. Children are practicing the healthy behaviour in their house what they learnt from the orientation and so improved the health status of their families and communities as well.
Students of Shree Panchakanya Basic School observed the orientation that organized on 8th November of 2017 and become health and hygiene ambassadors within their own families and communities.
“After going to the toilet, I wash my hands with soap now, if I don’t wash hands, I can get sick with stomach ache” said 12 years old Pana
Tamang. “Now I knew the steps of hand washing and every time I follow the steps effectively and teach my parents and sibling as well” she added.
“Cleanliness awareness came to us for the first time from my daughters” said 50 years old Kali Maya Tamang, mother of Suntali and Pana Tamang. “We were not aware of health and hygiene practices and did not even know to use of toothpaste. I have come out of the dark because of my daughters” she added with a smile.
“The hygiene promoters came to his school and he learned about hand washing, the importance of using toilets, and being safe from diseases.” Said Tara Maya Tamang, Grandmother of Suraj, a student of the Panchankanya Basic School. He used to start eating with dirty hands; but now he washes his hands before sitting to eat,” said Tamang. “We also learn to wash and brush from him and following the steps” she continued.
“Before the program, many children ate their Tiffin (Snacks) without washing their hands, they looked so dirty without combing hair, long nails, no brushing and even dirty school uniform, but now their practice has improved and children are sharing messages of health and hygiene at home and also at society for good waste management” said Rajan Danuwar, principal of Panchakanya school.
CHFN provides 2 dustbins to school and another 2 dustbins to the community. Villagers’ lives are much healthier through widespread health and hygiene awareness, said Dhan Bahadur Shrestha, ward chief of Indrawati rural municipal 8. “The support in dustbin will help to waste management for better environmental hygiene in the village” he added. There were more than 300 participated in the orientation, including 132 students. CHFN had distributed mini towel, toothpaste and brush, shop and other educational materials on health and hygiene at the end of the program.