Pencils of Promise recognizes that millions of students miss days of school each year due to preventable illnesses. Research shows that the amount of lost days could be reduced if children simply washed their hands properly and regularly. This particular WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) lesson emphasized that washing hands with soap and water can prevent illnesses that harm millions of children every year.
Using posters, worksheets, and activities, the our programs team was able to help students in rural Guatemala understand the importance of washing hands. The hand-washing lesson started off by reviewing our first WASH lesson – Germ Day. Our coordinators wanted to further show how germs are spread in order to prove the importance of using soap and water to get rid of germs.
Our programs team explained to the students why, when, and for how long it is necessary to wash your hands. In order for the students to understand how long to wash their hands, our coordinators sang a song with the students. During this 30-second song, the WASH team showed the students that they can’t just rinse their hands quickly, but instead have to lather up to the wrists, under the nails, and between the fingers. Through a demonstration, our program coordinators showed how to lather the soap – then the students practiced.
The preschool of Parcelamiento, Guatemala does not have any running water. Therefore, each student has to carry their own water to school each day – one portion of water for hand washing and another portion of pure water for drinking. The students range from 2-5 years old, and have to walk with their parents each day carrying these quantities of water. For this lesson, the school borrowed extra water from a neighbor, which the programs team used for the demonstration with the children. Using antibacterial soap, small buckets and clean towels, the hand-washing lesson was a big success!