Thanks for your support of our efforts to improve hygiene and Sanitation in our project schools in Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu.
As the new year began in June, we started to do some assessment of needs on hygiene and sanitation in all the supported schools, primary, middle, high and higher secondary schools. Some of the issues identified were poor maintenance of the school grounds, problems with water source, repairs of motor/ water tanks, and availability of cleaning supplies. In addition, we also found the need to renew the children's awareness levels and ability to take actions on poor hygiene issues. A program has been developed for improving the situation in each school, which will be implanted in the course of the school year.
We started conducting the awareness session in the community, talking to children about their views on hygiene and what challenges they have to maintain good personal hygiene. It was identified, that educating parents on these issues is also very important. But since the issue is considered to basic and not a serious issue at the community level, there is significant level of apathy. To get through to them, we have started to conduct some competitions, storytelling, plays/ skits, where parents can be invited as well. These activities are only now being initiated and we hope to assess the extent of change among the parents and community over the next few months.
Thanks to all of you who continue to support our efforts.
Thanks to all donors for your support. With your support we are able to continue the programs in our rural villages through outreach actvities. Over the last few months we have implemented a number of actvities and some of these are described below.
Health and hygiene committee was formed to make the children understand the importance of cleanliness. The committee has three members and they are responsible for the cleanliness in their homes and neigborhoods. They are making sure that their homes and environment are cleaned regularly. As part of this program children from classes VI - VIII children were given handwash.
Screening of Value Education Videos: Value Education plays an important role in the lives of school students. The students in the early adolescent year need clarity on their behaviour. The choices are important and they are based on the morals and values. Reading moral and values stories are not always interesting among school students. The team decided to do that in audio-visual mode. The screening of VE videos are always their enjoyable moments. These videos were screened in the auditorium to the students from classes VI - VIII. These videos are screened on Fridays. The topics covered are honesty, punctuality, loyalty, truthfulness, integrity and respect. After the sessions, the students were given brief on the values learnt. The students were also asked questions in the session. The social awareness was also given through these videos like importance of girl education, ill effects of plastic usage and national leaders achievements.
Art & Craft sessions: Art & Craft activities were conducted on a regular time frame for slow learners. It will make them recharge themselves. These activities were helped to improve their concentration. This shows the creativity of the students. It was conducted to improve the fine motor skills, concentration and focus among some of the students. As part of this, the students did leaf painting, paper bags, Origami Star and Painting activity
Nutritious Snacks giving program: With an aim to improve the dietary intake among students which in turn can enhance academic success, nutritious snacks are being provided to 70 students of class X. The focus is to infuse an environment of healthy eating habits and hence focusing on providing nutrition snacks after school to keep the energy level intact. The students have been made to bring their own containers and to avoid plastic or paper cups. The students were happy after they were provided with nutritious snacks and they thanked them as it could help them concentrate better during evening study hours.
These last few months have been very challenging to implement our regular programs. We have to find innovative ways of reaching the children and families under the new normal conditions during GOVID pandemic.
Our rural communities have also been impacted in that many of the families are daily wage laborers and have lost their income. Children are home as schools are closed and there it has created a greater need for ensuring the health behaviors. Explaining to illiterate communities about the COVID risk and increasing their understanding on how to protect them was foremost in our minds.
Kalanjiyam team took up one to one and small group interactions and started our education program, we explained what is the Corona virus, how it spreads, signs and symptoms and how to protect oneself from infection. We taught about hand washing practices and self-hygiene and social distancing and why these are required and how to follow them under the rural context.
We have been able to reach 1500 children and their families in our local villages these last few months with these awareness program/ campaign. We have also made cloth based masks at Kalanjiyam and distributed them free of cost to our communities.
We are continuing our efforts despite the challenging circumstances and will continue to reach more children and families with awareness.
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