Last Monday, NC5 held an interactive and activity-packed hand washing lesson for the children of the community, at the primary school in Simaltar. The lesson was filled with lots of learning, games, singing, competitions, and buckets of soapy water. The aim of the event was to raise awareness amongst the school children as to how, why, and when they should wash their hands properly (using soap and the 7 hand washing steps). The lesson began by introducing ourselves and asking them the following questions:
When is it best to wash your hands?
Why should you wash your hands?
When do you touch your hands to your mouth and eyes?
What happens if you don’t wash your hands?
The children were incredibly interactive, and were excited to get involved. After we had established the answers to all of the aforementioned questions together, we showed all the children microscopic pictures of the germs. We spoke about where they come from, and how they can make you very unwell, if you do not wash them off of your hands with soap and water.
Afterwards, we split the children into two separate groups; using an interactive comic with cut-out characters and germs, demonstrating how bacteria can travel easily from one object to another. We played a few games during the break, and commenced giving a tutorial on the seven hand washing steps. To asses how well we had all remembered the 7 steps of hand washing, we played a ‘hand washing relay’ game. Split into lines of 14, each of the children had to run from their line, up to a bucket, and show all 7 steps with soap before they could run to the back of their line. All of the children were rewarded for their hard work with sweets and a soap medallion. We finished the lesson by playing ‘Soap’ Bulldog.
The whole event was a huge success, and all of the children and volunteers had an amazing afternoon, everybody left school clean as a whistle!
On Tuesday, another group of volunteers travelled to Bhainse school, a 25 minute bus journey from Simaltar, to conduct a similar handwashing lesson with the primary school. After greeting the excited students with many a ‘namaste’, 50 children and 5 teachers crammed into a classroom, and the lesson got underway. The volunteers were delighted with how enthusiastic the students (and teachers!) were, with our questions, and each answer given by a student was followed by a round of applause from the class.
Having got the children to think about when and why to wash their hands, we led a demonstration of the 7 handwashing steps and followed this with the handwashing relay. Once the children had washed their hands following the 7 steps, they were allowed to go and eat their lunchtime snack. Whether their eagerness to wash their hands was due to the promise of food, or their genuine delight in washing their hands- we can’t know for sure, but as we left the school, the youngsters were showing the older students what they’d learned, accompanied by an ongoing chorus of ‘ek, dui, tin, char, panch, chha, saat (one, two, three, four, five, six, seven!)
Written by UK volunteers Sumaya, and Sarah (November Charlie 5)