| Sep 20, 2010
School Health and Nutrition Program
Education and health services were severely affected during the years of conflict in Afghanistan. Many rural communities still do not have access to basic health services and countless children and their families don’t know how to prevent or protect themselves from communicable and preventable diseases.
Save the Children’s School Health and Nutrition programs help to fill this critical gap through a variety of initiatives including: Child-focused Health Education, micronutrient campaigns, vitamin distribution, de-worming, school-based vision and hearing screening by trained teachers, and trained first aid committees and kits.
Our program supports 42 schools and their surrounding areas and reaches approximately 34,000 school-aged children in the northern districts of Faryab and Sar-i Pul.
Since 1985 Save the Children has been responding to the needs of Afghan children and families, whether in Afghanistan or refugee sites in Pakistan, by working to help them improve their lives through programs in health, education and child protection. We have done this throughout years of war, sociopolitical turmoil, drought and oppression. Save the Children is committed to helping Afghan families and communities.
Habiba: Helping Other Children in Her Community
Habiba, an eighth grader at Dong Qala School in Gorziwan District, has volunteered for three years in a Child-focused Health Education group and is a first aid facilitator. She is proud of her work that helps other children in her community.
Recently, Habiba spoke with one of our staff members: "I remember when I was younger and Save the Children had not yet started working in our school and community. I remember how teachers used to hit students when they didn't know their lessons or didn't do their homework. I remember when parents were reluctant to send their children, even boys, to school. I remember when we didn't know how to prevent catching diseases. "
Now the classes are more active, friendly and interesting. My parents were one of the hundreds of parents in my village who didn't want their children to go to school. My parents are now PTA and ECD Committee members. They encourage other parents to send their children, especially girls, to school and this is why that I am in the eight grade and still continuing my education.
When Save the Children started its school health and nutrition activities in our village I wanted to attend the child focused health group. My group volunteer facilitator was one of our community girls and I too wanted to be a volunteer one day. I feel very fortunate to have been selected. Now I am not only learning about health, but also facilitating a group myself and helping other children to learn as well as providing first aid to injured children. The programs have helped us to change our lives in such a big way.
In the Child-focused Health Education program, Habiba has learned how to prevent diarrhea, coughs, colds and intestinal worms. She has also learned about the benefits of washing hands, iodized salt, safe water and vitamin A. She is also a member of her school’s first aid committee and has learned how to help a child with diarrhea and how to prepare Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS).
Habiba says, “Before I joined the program and received this training, my parents were not giving water and fluids to my siblings who had diarrhea thinking that fluids would worsen the situation. Then I learned in my groups that children with diarrhea need more fluids to be rehydrated. Once in the summer, my younger brother got a diarrhea and my mother was not giving him fluids. I remembered what I learned in my group and told my mother about ORS and went to the small local drugstore near my house and got a sachet of ORS and prepared it while showing my mother how easy it was and then asked my brother to drink. He got well in two days after drinking it regularly.”
Afterwards, her mother requested that she also teach her friends and neighborhood women how to treat diarrhea and prepare ORS.
Habiba hopes to be a doctor one day and help her community and other people.