Unhygienic practices in the slum areas lead to a series of food and waterborne diseases such as bacterial diarrhoea, hepatitis A and E and typhoid fever. Common colds, lice and pink eye pass from child to child due to a lack of personal hygiene. Children play alongside open defecation, while narrow alleys linger with the smell of rotting garbage. Children in slums are exposed to dangers that could be avoided by practicing basic hygiene and sanitation.
Manav Sadhna advocates personal hygiene in all of its activities. Throughout the year, we place a lot of emphasis on sanitation and hygiene practice within the different projects which involve children. We use different methods of education such as games, multi media, documentary, art and craft etc.
Through this process we highlight the importance of hygiene by exposing the child to its benefits while building a relationship with them through this interaction. We often take the children to view in a mirror their appearance before and after completing a particular cleanliness activity (i.e. washing their face). We have found that children find confidence by looking and feeling clean. We remind all our children of the importance of washing hands before eating and after using the toilet.
Unfortunately, many families in the Tekro do not have access to toilets. As a result outdoor defection continues in the community, which leads to many health concerns. Women in the Tekro suffer tremendously because they are forced to wait until the late hours or early mornings to relieve themselves, as it is culturally unacceptable for them to be seen. To provide families with dignity and reduce health issues in the community, Manav Sadhna has partnered with the Environmental Sanitation Institute (ESI) to conduct its toilet construction project in the Tekro. Within the project, families who live in homes surrounding the community center are able to build a toilet in their homes and connect it to an existing sewage line for a subsidized cost. We helped to build 2400 toilets, and we hope to be able to build many more.