Fetiya (right) is a role model for her younger sister
Nine-year-old Fetiya is more excited than ever to attend school these days, and she rarely misses out any more due to illness, thanks to the work that her community has been doing with Plan to improve living conditions in Jimma.
“Plan has brought many concrete changes to our community,” she says with an infectious smile and energy. “What I like the most is the new school building. I am very happy since I started learning in one of the new classrooms.”
At school, Fetiya has been involved a number of development projects, including a community-wide sanitation and hygiene initiative to reduce the spread of disease, which has taken a real toll on the health and survival of children in the past.
“Plan encouraged me to participate in a hand-washing campaign and learn how to keep our environment safe and protect the water supply by using the new latrines that they have helped us build at school and at home.”
Indeed, through school-based programs, young people like Fetiya are leading the charge to improve sanitation and hygiene in Jimma, which is so important for protecting the health of families, especially the youngest members who are at greatest risk from infection.
Thanks to the introduction of these campaigns, the health of local children is already improving. For Fetiya, who says she wants to be a teacher, that means more time in school working toward her goal. The campaign has even sparked a new area of interest.
“My favourite subject now is Environmental Science because it is so important for our health,” she stresses, “but also for our community. Plus I understand it better than any other subjects.”
When asked what she would like to change about her community, Fetiya says the one thing her community could really use is a health station. Indicative of the new confidence she has found by spending more time in school and getting directly involved in Plan’s programs, she adds, “I would like to build upon what Plan has helped us achieve to improve the health of my community even further.”
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