Heeals- An Innovative Approach to Handwashing Education in India

Heeals WASH On Wall (1)Heeals is an acronym for Health Education Environment and Livelihood Society, a phrase that represents their commitment to providing education and sanitation needs throughout India.  SoapBox has seen Heeals develop some very creative initiatives to get school children excited about washing their hands and educated about the importance of doing so to keep them healthy.  Heeals has used SoapBox soaps to work with Krishana Model Public School in particular. There, Heeals wrote messages on the walls in the bathroom above the sink saying things like: “Wash hands with soap before and after eating food, after using toilet makes you healthy and happy” as a constant reminder to students.    Heeals drawing KMP School 4

Additionally, they developed a handwashing drawing competition among students. Students drew a picture about handwashing and the best drawings won a “Magic Box” filled with soap and other goodies.Over and over again, Heeals has proven to be innovative and effective.

Below is a great success story about a girl named Madhu and how Heeals made a difference in her life through sanitation education.

 

India: Heels GirlThe Heeals Team first met Madhu in April during a workshop organized at a school to find out how education is affected by bad sanitation facilities and unsafe drinking water. We wanted to know how to combat diseases and issues arising from low education regarding menstrual cycle hygiene and overall sanitation issues.

During this workshop, our team member, Chinu, met Madhu. Her attendance had been consistently decreasing, and she told Chinu that she was frequently sick to her stomach (diarrhea, gastroenteritis, food poisoning etc.) which was caused by unsafe water and bad sanitation facilities.

After spending time with Madhu, we began to understand better that lack of awareness towards sanitation, lack of knowledge about menstrual hygiene, and safe drinking water is creating a major problem in that area. Because of this, we started holding workshops to create awareness regarding these issues. We told students ways of obtaining safe drinking water, how to keep your environment and surroundings clean and hygienic, and that they must follow good hygiene practices both at school & at home.

 After our numerous visits at her school, we observed that Madhu had become a regular attendee in her classes, and her bouts with illnesses became less frequent. We spoke to Madhu’s teacher to confirm our observations, and she said now she is a regular in her classes and is performing well in her studies. Madhu has become more confident and is able to concentrate more on her studies rather then on sickness. She also told us that she is now following these new hygiene practices on a regular basis and keep informing her parents, siblings, friends and neighbors about its benefits. Now Madhu has also become the Sanitation Supervisor in her school and monitors the sanitation and drinking water facilities in the school premises.

India: heeals

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