Muslim children wash their hands 5 times a day before they pray, but with dirty water in the canal.
Tha It is a Muslim community near the riverbanks in Tha-It. As Muslims, the community members need to pray 5 times a day and before praying, Muslims need to wash their hands and feet. What we found was that the children wash their hands in a canal near the mosque. The water in the canal was very dirty and this affected the children’s health. Besides our observation, we also interviewed the community nurse and school teachers to get a better understanding of the problem. After collecting sufficient knowledge, we decided to work on a project with 60 children from the community school to:
1. Raise awareness on personal hygiene
2. Impart knowledge using active learning
3. Ensure children remember and practice what they learnt in their daily life
To teach children about personal hygiene in a fun and hands-on way, we decided to teach children how to make soap. In our soap making workshop, we imparted knowledge about personal hygiene and designed simple activities such as games and role plays that we incorporated into the workshop.
Before the workshop, we evaluated the children on hygiene and sanitation through a quiz. We found that none of the children knew how to answer the questions.
After our workshop, we evaluated the children again. We found that the test scores improved significantly and the children are more aware of ways to protect themselves.
Because the teachers were also involved in our workshop, the teachers also learnt how to make soap and had committed to incorporating this activity as part of their health education class. Besides soap making workshops, we also engaged children in a poster making activity where they created their own posters about the importance of personal sanitation. By engaging students beyond making soap, we hoped that the children would feel a sense of responsibility for their own health and a sense of ownership for the personal campaign that we kickstarted in the community.