School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children

by Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
School Health and Hygiene for Mayan Children
Dr. Contreras teaches dental hygiene
Dr. Contreras teaches dental hygiene

The school year ended in Guatemala in mid-October, but our Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) and Organic Gardens project teams have been hard at work running summer camp in several of our partners schools. The first two sessions were held in early November in elementary schools in Tzanchaj and Pacoc.

To help organize a series of WASH activities, we enlisted the generous guidance of several local health professionals. Dr. Jose Contreras Alegria, a local dentist, gave a wonderful presentation on the importance of dental health and hygiene.  He talked about how to brush your teeth properly, the basics of mouth anatomy, and why eating well and brushing your teeth regularly contribute to a healthy body and mind.  At the end of his presentation, Dr. Contreras gave every student two toothbrushes and toothpaste.

Psychologist Danila Salvador talked with the children about the importance of self-esteem. Together they listed the characteristics of a person with good self-esteem and a person with poor self-esteem, and then the children separated into groups and talked to each other about why self-esteem was important in school. At the end of the session they presented their ideas and questions to the rest of the group. 

After both presentations the children played health and hygiene-related games and prepared to bring this new, healthy knowledge home to their siblings and parents.

The third and fourth sessions of camp are taking place now in elementary schools in La Cumbre and Totolya.  For WASH activities, we have invited psychologist Ruth Juracán from Santiago’s Health Center to discuss self-esteem and school bullying, and nurse Araceli Rodriguez from San Lucas Health Center to present on basic health and hygiene and common illnesses around Lake Atitlan. 

We are so excited that our students are learning AND having fun this summer vacation. Stay tuned for updates and, as always, thank you for helping Pueblo a Pueblo make these summer programs possible!

Each student received a toothbrush and toothpaste
Each student received a toothbrush and toothpaste
Danila Salvador presents on self-esteem
Danila Salvador presents on self-esteem
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This past week we completed our third and final round of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) teacher trainings! Sandy and Misa, two of our local education coordinators, designed the trainings to help instill healthy WASH practices in student’s daily lives.

Over the past year, with your support, they have traveled regularly to five participating schools to present teachers with strategies to create healthy classroom environments. Topics have included water contamination, bolstering student self-esteem, and preventing disease transmission.

Our WASH program doesn’t stop there, though. As part of our monitoring and evaluation program, we are now reviewing teacher evaluations of our trainings to guarantee that next year’s curriculum is even stronger. One of our focus areas for the upcoming year will be to train teachers on how to garner parental support for and involvement in WASH activities – an evolution that will lead to healthier behaviors at home as well as at school.

Beyond teacher trainings, we are currently working with a new partner school, Nueva Providencia Primary School, to develop sustainable, child-friendly sanitation and hygiene facilities for students. The construction project will break ground in November 2013, while the children are on school break. Be sure to check back for pictures of the new facilities!

Finally, please join us on October 15th in celebrating Global Hand Washing Day! As always, your contributions will directly improve student’s exposure to and awareness of proper hygiene and sanitation practices.

It’s a long process, but together we have begun to change fundamentally the way our partner schools approach WASH-related health topics. Thanks for all you do, and we look forward to working together to extend our impact to new schools and children. 

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Since we last wrote we have made and distributed over 715 hygiene packs to students across Santiago Atitlán! This means that in each of the four schools that partner with our Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene program (WASH) every student has received a toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, soap, and nail clippers, all within a handy Pueblo a Pueblo sack!

Along with the hygiene packs, girls in fifth and sixth grades received a re-usable sanitary pad. Reproductive health issues often go unaddressed in the Santiago Atitlán region and we are so happy to be able to provide young women with a resource that will keep them healthy and comfortable!

Also, because of your support, we can now begin to add the Nueva Providencia elementary school, located in the municipality of San Lucas Tolimán, to our WASH program! As of now the community in and around Nueva Providencia has no connection to a septic tank and the water supply to the school is not continuous. The presence of our school WASH program will be a great aid to the staff, children, and community as a whole.

Like with our Organic School Gardens program, your generosity is a leading factor in our efforts to extend our program to very rural, low resource, high needs communities. We will continue to implement the WASH program in Nueva Providencia over the next few months. We promise to keep you updated on our progress, and thank you again for your support.

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This week, the local Water Committee from the village of La Cumbre, in the municipality of Cerro de Oro asked us for help.

Last month, the community water pump broke, leaving the entire village without a constant water supply. Due to the lack of support from the local government, the La Cumbre community elicited support from local families to raise the necessary funds to repair the pump.

The community of La Cumbre has worked hard to raise the money, but to fix the community’s water pump they need a total of Q 20,000, or approximately $2,600, so we aim to help them do it! In their efforts, they have raised over 50% of what they need, despite the widespread poverty in the area.

A new water pump was not in our program plan or budget, but we will help to raise the remaining funds needed, as well as a long term plan to maintain the system, and ensure the community receives the materials and repairs needed to provide continuous water flow in the future. Not only because we have been working with La Cumbre school since 2011, but because everyone deserves access to clean water.

Providing a new water pump for the community encourages not only the children to continue using their hand washing stations at school, but also everyone within the municipality of Cerro de Oro to remember to take care of their health and keep clean! Help us reach our goal so that everyone has access to the water they need and deserve.

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Thanks to you, Pueblo a Pueblo has successfully made badly needed sanitation infrastructure repairs in four local elementary schools (Tzanchaj, Panabaj, La Cumbre, Chacayá).  From the installation of hand washing stations to the construction and repair of bathrooms, the WASH project improved physical sanitary conditions in each school. The WASH project also successfully trained our partner schools’ teachers and directors on the basics of personal hygiene, health and hand washing.

Local community support also enabled us to enrich the hygiene lessons that we bring to children.  During the summer garden camps, a local dentist donated his time and knowledge to teach children the basics of dental hygiene. Our special guest demonstrated proper techniques to brush and floss teeth, and also discussed what healthy foods kids need to consume to have stronger bones and bodies.

Children from Panabaj, La Cumbre, Chacayá and Tzanchaj elementary schools have started this new school year in a healthier learning environment. New fun and educational murals are now decorating the school campus and serve as reminders of the healthy habits they learned in class! Children are learning to wash their hands with soap after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after playing in the school garden. Healthy hand washing habits reduce the risk of catching and transmitting germs and diseases that are partly responsible for a low school attendance. 

As the WASH project enters its second year of implementation, our partner schools in La Cumbre, Chacayá and Tzanchaj will continue teacher trainings and receive a new set of classes around hygiene and sanitation. Panabaj elementary schools will be receiving the WASH project’s first year teacher trainings so that they can learn how to create a clean and healthy environment in the schools. The teachers, directors and Pueblo a Pueblo staff are very much looking forward to continue creating healthy learning environments in our partner schools!

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Organization Information

Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.

Location: Neenah, WI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Pueblo_a_Pueblo
Project Leader:
Andrew Wilson
Executive Director
Neenah, WI United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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