Children studying in far-flung Batangas school receive early Christmas gifts
“Our school is quite far from the town center. We thought we would never receive any assistance because of our distance. But when we heard that World Vision will be helping us, we were ecstatic. It is our first time to receive such support,” Jennifer Arellano, school teacher, said.
Jennifer added that they had limited comfort rooms and handwashing facilities that affect the cleanliness of their school and hygiene practices of the students.
“Our students used to use the back of our stage to pee or fetch water from a nearby stream to wash their hands or for comfort room use,” she said.
Mary Cris, 12, a grade 7 student recalled an instance where she used her drinking water to wash her hands after her class did gardening works. “There was no water when we wanted to wash our hands. So, I used my drinking water to wash my hands,” she said. Due to limited water in their school, students carry their own drinking water.
Another student, Jhar-R, confirmed that he used to pee outside their designated comfort room because of lack of water and clean comfort rooms. “I was in urgent need to pee but found out there was no ready water in the comfort rooms. So, I peed at the back of the stage.”
“It is embarrassing to admit but some parts here in our schools used to be dirty and have foul smell because of our limited water facilities,” teacher Jennifer said.
WASH in School
Seeing the need, World Vision and Bank of America assisted teacher Jen’s schools and three other schools in World Vision communities in Batangas on repairs and building new facilities that would help the students have a clean and better water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.
“When we saw that the students were suffering from lack of water facilities, we immediately coordinated with them to know what we can do to help them,” Ever Rogero, World Vision WASH project coordinator, said.
World Vision’s WASH work in schools involves the construction of drinking water, hand washing, and toilet facilities. It also encompasses the training of community people from schools and health institutions who spearhead school sanitation and hygiene programs to promote behavior change.
Months after the WASH facilities were constructed, students were excited to see their new segregated comfort rooms: one for girls and another for boys. “Our CR [comfort room] now has flush, shining floors and water!” Mary Cris exclaimed.
With the school’s new electrical water pump, water inside the school’s comfort rooms and handwashing facilities will now be available always.
“The teachers are likewise happy to receive these new blessings!” said Jennifer. “Thank you!”
The new WASH facilities also encourage the students to properly observe cleanliness in using their gender-segregated comfort rooms. A group is assigned to monitor the cleanliness of their new facilities. Children also enjoy washing their hands on the new handwashing facility that has enough water and soap.
“I’m seeing a slow change in our student’s hygiene behavior. I am happy,” added Jennifer, who is also the assigned WASH coordinator.