Global Handwashing Day

Under a mango tree on a hillside outside Léogâne, a crowd of children are singing and clapping. The songs are all about water, soap, and clean hands. Today is Global Handwashing Day.

The director of the school oversees the 125 pupils. ‘It is a good initiative’ he says, ‘people often don’t know how to wash their hands so they are clean. The games help the children learn and we inform the parents too’. Attitudes have changed significantly since the cholera outbreak in Haiti, and there is now much more emphasis on hygiene and clean water.

One of the teachers starts a song, the children jump up and down, shouting out the responses and grinning from ear to ear. As he hands over the stage to another facilitator he tells me how important today is, not just for the children but for the community too; ‘In reality how we wash our hands has an effect on everything, we must practise it’.

I spoke to some of the children participating in the day’s activities. Two girls spoke about show they enjoyed the presentations and the songs: ‘we all feel welcome here and we sing about how to avoid cholera. When I go home I will share what I have learnt with my parents’.

Global Handwashing Day helps to raise important issues on health and hygiene issues, and I for one have concentrated far more on how I wash my hands today!

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