Millions of children die each year from diarrhea and other illnesses. Recognizing that schools are central to rural communities, CWEF partners with schoolteachers and leaders to integrate health education into school curriculum. It raises awareness among rural children and their families of how diseases are transmitted and works to establish healthy habits among school children.
Since 2008, CWEF has been partnering with rural primary and middle schools in Yunnan Province, China, to integrate health and hygiene education into their regular curriculum. Also we partner to improve the environmental health on school campuses where students spend the bulk of their time. Each school takes ownership of the program once it has been initially introduced. The results are exciting. Schools have partnered with local communities to initiate trash disposal, and students and teachers are together taking pride in maintaining the cleanliness of the schools.
Students entering the schools receive basic health kits that always include, at minimum, a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, washbasin and cup. The teachers at the school, who have been trained in the curriculum, then work with the students to establish healthy habits informed by knowledge of germ transmission and health risks. In some cases students lead other students through lessons abut healthy living, initiating a feeling of personal responsibility among the students for the state of health around them.