San Juan Mirador students with Trailside t-shirts
Soon, we will begin construction on WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) facilities at San Juan Mirador School. This new partnership is particularly exciting because San Juan Mirador has some special supporters: the students at Trailside Middle School in Ashburn, VA.
San Juan Mirador School is located in a small, Kaqchikel-speaking community outside of San Lucas Toliman. There are currently 222 students from preschool to 6th grade, and most of the students’ parents work on the large coffee plantations nearby. The students love school -- but “the bathrooms are in bad shape, and the kids are really at risk to get sick,” explained Tomas, our WASH in Schools Project Coordinator.
Trailside Middle School is helping us meet the challenge. Through a collaboration with H2O For Life, Trailside students have been raising money and awareness within their communities to support San Juan Mirador’s new WASH construction. Trailside has hosted advocacy and fundraising events at their school, and have even reached out to the students at San Juan Mirador. Students learning Spanish have written letters introducing themselves to the students in San Juan Mirador, and recently, the school sent over 100 Trailside t-shirts.
When WASH Project Coordinator Tomas visited the school recently, he delivered the letters and t-shirts to the 6th grade class. Students could see photos of the students at Trailside, and each student received a t-shirt and a letter. They have now written letters in response, sharing their everyday lives and their interests with the Trailside students.
Alice, an 8th grade teacher at Trailside Middle School described how the students “are really excited. [They] loved being able to see the direct connection made. Our students were excited to see how excited San Juan Mirador students were.”
The first phase of the WASH in Schools Project is now underway at San Juan Mirador. The school has chosen its six student WASH ambassadors, who will help to make sure their peers practice proper hygiene and that the bathrooms are fully stocked with soap and toilet paper. They have also formed a community support group, which includes the principal, the teacher in charge of WASH, the student ambassadors, and two parents.
This past month, the community support group participated in the first WASH training at the school, where they learned proper hand-washing and teeth-brushing techniques, and more WASH basics. There is another training coming up before construction begins in May!
The entire 6th grade class
Checking out photos from Trailside Middle School
First training at San Juan Mirador!
The school principal participating in 1st training