Mai Hanh is a 5-year-old girl from the Tay ethnic minority group, and she lives in a poor rural village 220 kilometers (135 miles) northwest from Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. When CWS staff met Hanh during a recent visit to her village pre-school, they learned that she had no idea what a toilet is because, where she lives, people still use fields with bushes and streams as their ‘toilets’. Also, in talking to Hanh, staff learned that many of the people she has grown up around do not usually wash their hands after going to the ‘toilet’ or before eating. Because Hanh’s situation is not all that uncommon is many places in rural Vietnam, and across southeast Asia, in fact, CWS is pleased to be partnering with Khuon Pong village’s kindergarten to change this situation for the young children like Hanh who are in pre-school there.
When the Vietnamese school year started in September 2018, CWS started supporting latrine and water supply improvements in Khuon Pong. Since then Hanh and her classmates have had an exciting time satisfying their curiosity about modern latrines, clean water taps…and how these conveniences help them have better hygiene and, as a result, better health.
Equally enthused by CWS presence in the village, Hanh’s mother, Tiep was pleased to see these physical improvements alongside a safe new school kitchen too. Also important to Tiep was the awareness-raising and new learning about the importance of proper sanitation and hygiene, including clean water for hand-washing, for the sake of her daughter’s health and that of her 100 schoolmates.
Since Tiep wanted to make the most of CWS help to learn as much as she could to improve her life, and Hanh’s, she joined info sessions about biosand water filters and sanitary toilet models for homes; and now she has signed up to build a latrine for her home and to buy a biosand filter with CWS support. Now, Tiep’s and Hanh’s two-person family is one among 170 in Trung Ha Commune who are changing their lives for the better – thanks in part to CWS and our generous donors but also to Tiep and Hanh themselves!
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