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Daughters teach their mothers about health and hygiene

The mountainous region of Urozgan in southern Afghanistan is one of the most insecure areas of the country. Girls education and school enrolment levels are among the lowest in the world. 

Save the Children is running a School Health Education (SHE) project in the province. Keeping the project running here is quite a feat: there is strong community opposition against female education, and there are few other NGOs working there.

The aim of the project is to improve the general health of school age children in Uruzgan and to prevent sickness, disability and accidents, which in turn will curb mortality and morbidity rates over the long-term.

Children’s groups in eight primary schools identify actions they can take to prevent disease and disability in their families. Our workers also screen the children to spot early warning signs of illness, and involve parents, teachers and government officials in the exercise.

Bibi Gulla, mother of one of the students participating in the project, says, “These messages are very important for us. It is the first time we learned about some of the diseases.  Unfortunately, women are not allowed to go to school or other places for learning.  But, our children bring these messages home to us from school.”

 “I learned first time about health and diseases. Now I know how to keep my self and my house clean. Its very important to avoid sickness,” says Javed, a young boy in the seventh grade.

Aqillah, in grade six, says, “The lessons changed my opinion about disease. Now I always keep my school and my house clean.  I’ve been telling my family members and friends who do not go to school.” Aqillah also listens to radio programmes on heath and hygiene with her friends and family. These programmes are made and aired by Save the Children.

Kamilla Malali, the only girl school’s lady teacher is also very appreciative of the project. “We collect the students in one place to learn under the teacher’s supervision. They listen to the radio together and that is an excellent way for them to learn. The children also wrote a play about the issue”.

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