The importance of proper hand washing with soap is not well understood and the actual practice is also very poor among the children in our rural schools. To improve the situation, we have intensified our health education classes and now teaching students to understand why one should wash with soap and the consequences of not doing so for their health and well-being. To facilitate the practice, we have started to provide liquid hand washing soap in all the project schools, and project staff assemble the children and ensure that they wash their hands with soap, prior to eating the school lunch. During after school tuition classes the messages on hand washing and hygiene are emphasized through stories and songs. The children are also provided these topics and they have to create stories and stage small skits, to tell the messages to other children. We find that this type of activity has a lot of impact on the children and they are less likely to forget the proper hygienic practices.
In the last few months, the project also provided the project supported schools with steel storage drums, so that drinking water can be kept in each class room. We also provided the class rooms with steel stand, on which the drums can be placed. The clean drinking water from Reverse Osmosis filtration system is collected in the drums each morning and placed in each class room. This ensures that children get drinking water in the classroom.
The school environment and the sanitation conditions continue to be the critical focus. All project placed sanitation workers, maintain the school premises as well as the school toilets. The activities of the project, have become a model for many other schools in the area, and we are getting considerable requests for support to improve the hygiene and sanitation conditions in other schools. With support from donors we hope to take up more schools in the coming year. Thanks to all donors for your generous contributions last year and particularly during the year end period.
We planned and implemented a hygiene and sanitation campaign to culminate on Children's Day (November 14th) to provide prizes to the best maintained school / sanitation facilities. Over the last 12 days, Kalanjiyam team of para teachers, and hygiene and sanitation workers came together and went to all the 20 project schools to spread the message of hygiene and sanitation to children and teachers / school officials.
A cleaning drive in each school involved the entire school campus, hygiene and sanitation facilities and trying to beautify the school environment overall. The schools were already informed of the event ahead of time, so they were prepared to receive our team. Our teams started out with assessing the hygiene situation in the school and then started clearing the premises - picking up waste/ garbage, even picking weeds and clearing the garden areas to make the school environment more appealing. Seeing the effort of our project the children and teachers joined the effort and participated in the cleaning drive. The entire activity was done with much cooperation and enjoyment, so as to ensure a learning for the school - at the end of the drive in each school, the importance of good hygiene and ownership of the school - and children was emphasized to all. The school teachers and children had definitely been motivated and energized to take more efforts to keep their school environment clean going forward.
All the school toilets were assessed for cleanliness, availability of water, proof of regular maintenance and feedback from children and teachers. An external person was brought to look at all the hygiene facilities and the best maintained school was awarded and the hygiene and sanitation worker was also provided a prize to keep them motivated to continue their good work.
In light of the recent campaign initiated by Prime Minister Modi in India, the project takes pride that we have already been focusing on hygiene and sanitation - through working with our future generations- the children in our communities. In all our schools we have habituated our children to use the toilets and made the provisions for the necessary pre-requisites for facilitating this behavior. Along with this we have been highlighting the importance of personal and environmental hygiene. We are happy to say that our efforts suggest that change is possible through persistent efforts and involving local communities for increased ownership. We thank GlobalGiving and all the donors who have supported this project, as you have helped to make this change possible, through your donations. We hope to continue to take the message of hygiene and sanitation to more communities in our project areas with your support.
The following is a postcard from Neeharika Tummala, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in India, about her recent visit to Kalanjiyam Trust.
I never thought that I would do a site visit where I was supposed to visit toilets, but that is one of Kalanjiyam’s focus projects. Why? In many Indian government schools, the facilities are bare bones to non-existent, especially toilets which even if they exist are often not maintained. What Kalanjiyam identified is that girls tend to primarily drop out as there are no toilets and while boys can manage with nature, girls and their families are uncomfortable with that idea. Building toilets, which seems like such a small thing, provides basic necessities for encouraging girls to stay in school and study without stress. I am usually a little paranoid about walking into washrooms of public facilities, but I have to say, these were some of cleanest I have ever seen – all thanks to the lovely cleaning ladies appointed to the various schools. They cheerfully showed me around and I have to say, kudos to their great work in keeping the bathrooms clean – a step towards keeping kids in school.
Kalanjiyam is using its funds to strengthen one school after the other by providing such amenities. The second tier of strengthening schools is to add facilities such as computer labs, science labs and even kitchen gardens. As the funds roll in, more schools get access to such facilities and more kids benefits.
I visited several schools where I met students and staff. What I observed is that each class seemed to have a healthy number of students (between 18-30) and the absenteeism rate was quite low. One of the reasons is Kalanjiyam’s shadow staff, who offer after school supplementary tutoring, as well as get to school first and manage classes, in case the regular teachers are late. This provides support to the school staff as well as provides students the extra support for quality learning that they clearly need.
I heard from staff that several villages were forced to send their children to private schools because the public schools were in such poor condition. Now parents have an alternative in public education that is significantly more cost effective but also compares in the quality of education. That is amazing impact on the ground!
The Hygiene and Sanitation support to rurals schools adopted by us has resumed with the begining of schools in June. the project has increased the number of schools with a sanitation workers and more schools are now provided with a proper drinking water source. Thanks to the support of Global Giving and all the donors, the projet is able to reach to more children in our villages.
The efforts for improving school hygiene and sanitation are now implemented in nearly 20 schools in Tamil Nadu. The efforts include renovating school hygiene facilities, providing hygiene and sanitation workers and setting up safe drinking water source. Besides a water source such as filtration sytem, we also provide all the class rooms with proper storate containers where needed, and all the requirements for maintainance of these units.
At the begining of the school year our project team has visited each school to check the conditions of the school sanitation facilities and made a plan for strengthening the program in this school year. Awareness programs have begun to be conducted in the school, on how to maintain sanitary conditiions and taking the cooperation of school students and teachers to increase their ownership in the program. Overll nearly 1500 children are benefiting from the increased sanitation available now in the project schools and are therefore happier to come to school
We will continue to update you on how things progress in this school year! We thank all the donors for their continued support.
Dear friends and well wishers,
We are happy to report that the project has continued to ensure hygiene and sanitation in rural schools. In the last three months, we have increased the number of school sanitation workers, based on the needs identified by the project. Four more hygiene and sanitation workers were placed in three primary schools and one middle school, increasing the total number of schools with santiation workers. The half yearly special cleaning was taken up in all schools, and the hygiene facilities were renewed. Two school facilities were painted and roofing was replaced. In one of the middle schools, the renewal of toilet bowls/ repair work was done successfully.
Special education activities were conducted in all schools, to teach the children about hand washing practice; the educaitonal program highlighted, each time when hands shoudl be washed, how and what are the harms of not doing so. Children were asked to talk about the benefits of good hygiene for their health.
Issues realted to hygiene and sanitation in rural schools continue to be a challenging task. The main challenges that we face are infrequent powerr supply, which affects the availability of water in the toilets, as the water has to be pumped into tanks and then supplied through pipes in the toilet. Given the challenges with power supply, all the schools are having to be provided with large containers to have back up supply of water, in the event of power failures. Similarly for drinking water, all the schools were provided with large drums where drinking water from the RO system can be filled and kept in each class room. Again, each activity is accompanied with activities to educate the children and sensitize the school teacher on handling and maintaining hygiene at all times.
We thank all the well wishers for their continued support of this project.
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