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A special kind of summer fair

When thinking of summer, you might envision playing in the sun and surf with an ice-cold beverage. But what if there was no clean water available to quench your thirst or to cool off and freshen up with?

In the remote community of Hatibandha, people lived for years without critical information on proper sanitation practices. Water was regularly collected from local flooded areas and consumed untreated, latrines were inaccessible, and hand washing techniques were unknown. Inevitably, water-borne diseases and illness from contamination took a toll on local health.

Then you extended a helping hand, with a clear solution.

You previously funded the construction of gender-separate latrines across multiple schools. Since then, your support has been ensuring the ongoing success of these projects, starting right from the source of change: children.

A mother collects water from a pond while her children play in it.

Your sponsorship has been educating children’s groups on water and sanitation and they’re sharing what they’ve learned with peers and families. The support is also streaming out from schools to the community at large through the organization of student-led fairs – a fun festivity promoting an important message: that locals get serious about sanitation and the impact hygiene has on their health.

A smiling girl holds up glasses of clean and dirty water, while another washes her hands.

The school fairs were filled with informative activities like:

  • Student- and expert-led demonstrations
  • Mock sanitation stations
  • Discussion sessions and drama shows on such issues as the spread of bacteria and disease, hand washing and personal hygiene, consuming clean water, disposing of waste and sanitizing living spaces.

More than 500 children were involved!

“This is the first time I saw this kind of school sanitation fair in our community and learned lots. I will practice those messages on sanitation and I would like to thank Plan International and sponsors for organizing such an event in our community,” shared Shahana, 14, a member of the children’s organization.

Students demonstrate hand washing.

After the day’s events, the spectators committed to keeping their schools and households neat and clean and maintaining hygiene practices at an individual and family level – small changes that will ripple out to create waves of change for the whole community.

“Through this sanitation fair we learned that most of the germs are transmitted by our hands, which we can easily protect by properly washing,” explains Rahela, 43, emphasizing that community members of all ages benefitted.

A group of students crowd around and use a water tap to cleanse their eating utensils.

Billboards stand as sanitation reminders, while students remember to wash their lunch dishes.

These changes were also carried out into local schools.

“I have observed that cleanliness among the children has increased significantly,” shared Jhorna, a local school teacher, proving that students have truly begun to lead by example.

“Through this fair I have seen how to keep our community safe by using the sanitary latrine. I have also seen how to make a low-cost latrine. I want to share this info with my neighbours,” shared Rehan, an inspired grade 8 participant whose eager to continue spreading better sanitation.

Boys and girls smile beside wash buckets, giving peace signs.

“Now I have observed that children and families know about their personal hygiene and practices. School premises are kept clean and toilets meet the demand of students and teachers. Households are kept neat and water borne diseases are reduced day by day,” attests local Health Assistant, Mohammad, showing that the value of the fair has gone far beyond the actual day’s events.

Springing hope

With clean water and a safe environment comes fresh opportunities for change. Thanks to your support, children and families are consuming clean water and protecting their health by promoting and practicing improved hygiene.

Now meet Khadiza, and see how local sports are also bringing awareness for sanitation – as well as equality.

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