Going to school excited Varsha, but unfortunately fever, diarrhoea, stomach pains plagued her. It wasn’t until the sensitisation programme that Varsha learnt the reason for her frequent bouts of illness. Lack of personal hygiene and particularly unwashed hands made her fall sick often.
11-year-old Varsha comes from a family of six, her parents are agricultural labourers. Her parents leave for work early in the morning. Varsha wakes up at 6 am, completes her household chores and leaves to school in the same condition. Her classmates and friends in school followed the same routine every day until World Vision India organised a sensitisation programme in their school.
The children were taught about keeping themselves clean. They learnt about how germs enter the body through unwashed hands and cause illnesses. The sensitisation programme also explained the different steps in washing hands.
“This was the first time I heard how personal hygiene was important to survive and stay healthy”, says Varsha. She saw a change after practising cleanliness and eventually making it a clean habit. After doing her everyday chores, she now takes time to get ready.
“I brush my teeth, then have a bath and wear clean clothes before going to school.
What I have learnt is valuable and it is important to share this knowledge with other children of my community so that they can protect themselves too. As I grow up, my only desire is to learn more new and good things so that I can stand up for my rights and enjoy a healthy and secure life”, says Varsha.
Varsha is so thrilled to know the value of cleanliness, she teaches different hand washing techniques to other children in her village. She has become an agent of change in her community.
Among the indigenous tribal communities of Dangs there was limited emphasis given to exercising hygiene practices. The villagers were unaware of the direct correlation between unsanitary conditions and child mortality, malnutrition, stunting, and illnesses like diarrhoea, fever which were prevalent in the community. Through World Vision India’s awareness programmes the communities realised the importance of adopting hygienic practices and gradually started imbibing in their daily routine; making it a habit.
5569 children have been sensitised on hygiene practices in the communities World Vision India serves in Dangs thro
ugh the WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) intervention.
To promote such sanitary practices 2505 children received hygienic kits. Each kit had an antiseptic soap, nail cutter, a comb, brush and toothpaste.