It was January 2020, just before the start of the pandemic. Indonesian community members, teachers, parents, and FH staff agreed on the importance of a project to install handwashing stations in four local elementary schools.
Flash forward to now. Indonesian community members and FH staff are grateful to God and FH supporters for existing plans to install handwashing stations.
There are many elements to be grateful for regarding the handwashing stations project. First, construction proceeded in spite of the pandemic. Second, the handwashing stations were ready to use by October 2020. Children and families have been using the facilities even while schools remained closed. Finally, when it is safe for students and teachers to return to school, they will have these important tools and the knowledge about how to use them and stay healthy.
The Importance of Handwashing Stations
Handwashing prevents illness and the spread of infection. In addition, the CDC reports additional handwashing benefits:
- Handwashing education and access to soap in schools can help improve attendance.
- Good handwashing early in life may help improve child development in some settings.
Planning and Constructing
Challenges arose as community members and FH staff began planning and construction of the new facilities. A leading challenge was the location of the schools. They are in communities on the Mentawai islands, where it is difficult to source and deliver construction materials.
Thankfully, FH had the full support of the community. Teachers, parents, and community members used their connections to secure and deliver materials to the islands. They also contributed their talents and many helped with the construction of the handwashing stations.
Henri is a teacher at one of the elementary schools. She shared that she is happy and excited to go back to school. That is in part because she is glad that the school is able to teach students healthy habits, like handwashing. She hopes children will bring these lessons home, as well.
Anton is a teacher and principal at another elementary school. He says he has already noticed a change in the students. He has observed that children are washing their hands more frequently, following the proper procedure, and using soap. With water now readily available at the school, children and teachers are practicing healthy habits. Access to water has also allowed them to plant flowers near the school buildings.
Sponsors Supporting Students
FH child sponsors make projects like the handwashing stations possible. Child sponsorship allows FH to partner with communities to identify problems and implement solutions. When you sponsor a child monthly, you can support his or her education and health through community initiatives like the installation of handwashing stations.
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