Ebutunyi, a school found in western part of Kenya in Africa, with an enrollment of more than 500 pupils, was privileged to receive visitors from United States of America whose main aim was to have projects in the school that would help the children attend lessons and take up their studies comfortably. In the past, girl children were never given an equal opportunity to the boy child in getting an education. Regards to Reach The Children organization for planning to have teams coming to Africa to sensitize communities on the importance of educating both sexes to uplift standards of the people and their communities at large.
The teaching of personal hygiene was one of the aims of the team in order to enable the children to have proper knowledge concerning washing their hands after toileting, brushing their teeth and washing their bodies to keep them clean. After classes the girls would be expected to have all the required information on changes that take place during puberty and how to cope with and overcome the stigma and results of not understanding their maturing process. One of the expedition members said that “When you educate a boy you educate an individual, but when you educate a girl you have educated the whole Nation.” This refers mostly to a girls role as wife and mother in the home, but can also refer to her participation in the community. This statement encouraged girls of this school to work hard in school. Children were also expected to be able to use tooth brushes to brush their teeth according to the instructions given. Because of lack of enough knowledge, it becomes difficult for children who approach puberty and are in adolescence to take care of and clearly understand about their own bodies. These teachings would give them a chance to experience and share the information among themselves, with teachers and their parents at home.
Most families are poor and can’t afford soap to assist their children to wash their clothes and themselves. The group would provide an opportunity to the children, parents and teachers of the school to make soap from cheaply and locally available materials.The soap would also help many families be free from using a lot of money to buy soap, which is a major cost in most homes. The classes were greeted with much enthusiasm.
Ingredients used to make soap were Ungerol, Ufacid, Industrial salt ,caustic soda color and siment. Mixing of the ingredients at different ratios was done, led by Justus Suchi, the Reach The Children Country Director. Soap making would assist pupils and the community to stop buying since they would be making their own. Another importance of the soap is to help parents and community members earn money out of it. Children of the school will be able to clean their clothes using soap easily available thus keep clean both in school and home.
The lessons started at 0900hrs and ended at 1600hrs.By the end of the day much was covered and this left children of this school very excited about the teachings. They were taught when and how to wash hands, critical steps to follow when washing their hands. A good song talking about washing hands was sung by happy students who keenly followed the lessons. They were also taught personal hygiene which comprised of procedures to follow while washing their bodies. Dental hygiene was not left behind as they were taught why they should brush teeth, how to brush and when to brush. Local materials were recommended for use during brushing and also use of salt or baking soda. The goal of brushing teeth is to remove particles and prevent many teeth diseases.
The school also benefited from Grow Learn and Give lessons that deal with health for girls. Girls of this school were taught the 28 days cycle, making of sanitary pads using cheap and locally available materials and also menstruation. Many girls in the African setup do not access this information. In many families in Africa, it is taboo to share information related to sexual matters openly with parents or elders. Such taboos make many girls grow up without knowing health matters that later affect their health and education. Thanks to Reach the Children Organization for initiating the lessons to the poor girls. Many of these girls do reach menstruation without knowing anything about what is happening to their bodies. The girls are frightened, alone and unable to get the needed information to cope with the changes taking place. Many girls drop out of school for lack of any understanding about how to take care of themselves during menstruation. The lessons offered them a chance to learn and know what to do during that period. Girls were also taught how to make sanitary pads to use during their monthly periods. Making of reusable sanitary towels simplifies things for the girls because it is a cheaper way of having them for use.
The school and the community was very appreciative for the volunteers who assisted the school to benefit from this education. ”Long Live Reach The Children organization “said the Head teacher of the school.