Students wash hands together before school lunch
"It's amazing what a pail of rainwater and simple bars of soap can do to improve children's school performances and strengthen their overall health," observes Nurse Shareen, who is Chief Nurse of the Health Division in the Department of Education in Sulu Province, Philippines. Thanks to GlobalGiving donors, 1,000 children, 500 girls and 500 boys, in three lively elementary schools -- Mukamalli, Sheikh Mustafa and Sahaya Integrated Madrasa -- have been able to improve their performances with the purchase of three 100 gallon hard plastic rainwater-catching tanks adjoining school facilities. In addition, the 500 bars of soap purchased by Asia America Initiative assure that the children have clean hands before and after their daily lunches on school grounds. Infections and communicable illnesses that cause children to miss school days have dramatically been reduced. "Needless to say," says Nurse Shareen, their classroom performances have improved substantially."
According to the World Health Organization, Sulu Province remains near the bottom of the UN's worldwide Human Development Index. A school-aged population of some 350,000 children are mostly impoverished and suffering from hunger. Female students are often most affected. During the current school year, despite conducting programs under martial law, Asia America Initiative has partnered with local teachers, parents and industrious officials to build clean water WASH facilities in at least 24 schools in Sulu. In addition, we have increased basic nutrition through school lunches cooked by volunteer mothers and grandmothers. By overcoming malnutrition and illness, we have added to the peace process in the province by our motto "One School/One Family." The improved drinking water and WASH facilities at each school has encouraged the expansion of school-based gardens which provide fresh food for lunches. All of these components combine to overcome poverty, hunger, and communal violence that plague many areas in the Muslim Mindanao region of the Philippines. "The beauty of Asia America Initiative's integrated water and health programs," says Indanan District schools Supervisor Samoore Lahadjali "is that all members of our community can have a role in working together to build a better future for our children. Equal treatment of girls and boys sets a fine example of mutual respect and non-biased opportunity for all of our students."
In 2018, our goal is to improve and expand beyond these three wonderful elementary schools. We seek to maintain an adequate supply of soap and hand sanitizer to keep children's hands clean in order to keep their health stable and sustain their improving classroom performances. Our beneficiaries in Sulu feel they are truly not forgotten. They send their gratitude to all of our kind donors in the GlobalGiving community!
Soap from Asia America Initiative for 24 schools
100 gallon water tank captures fresh rain water
happy hand washers in rural school