Dozens of boys and girls huddled in a group and looked at the water that collected as they rinsed the soap off their little hands. It was filthy! Their attention fully engaged, they watched medical doctors and Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported Bridge of Hope staff demonstrate a life-saving skill: how to wash their hands.
It was October 15, Global Handwashing Day. Their Bridge of Hope teachers had organized a program to explain to the children and their parents that many of their sicknesses were the result of not washing their hands. They encouraged them to use soap and water before eating or after visiting the toilet—something many of the families had never before been taught to do.
On that day, more than 3,000 boys and girls from other Bridge of Hope centers in the region also discovered the dangers of dirty hands and determined to live healthier lives by being aware of cleanliness.
Mothers Learn the Importance of Handwashing
During another observance of Global Handwashing Day, ladies in a Gospel for Asia-supported Women’s Fellowship group also learned these important concepts about health and hygiene that would help keep them and their families safe.
“It is my first time to hear this kind of teaching about handwashing,” one woman shared. “I understand now that it is very important to know and implement, even in the family, in order to prevent different kinds of sicknesses.”
Sadly, every year, 1.7 million children under the age of 5 die because of diarrhea and pneumonia*, diseases which can easily be prevented through proper sanitation.
Handwashing with soap and water is a simple task many take for granted, but for these mothers and their children, it is a skill that could save their lives.
“Many people in our community don’t know about handwashing,” another participant explained. “They are not teaching their children either. But now this program is making us realize its importance and even [the need] to pass this teaching on to our community.”
Gospel for Asia (GFA)-supported workers host programs every year for Global Handwashing Day, teaching concepts that give thousands of people the opportunity to improve their quality of life.
*Source: The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing