Many of our childhood recollections are undoubtedly tied to the time we’ve spent in school. Every day, we look forward to our favorite subjects, making new friends, and taking part in different clubs or sports teams. All these different learning opportunities are enjoyable and meaningful, and no child should miss out on these experiences.
But some of them do. When a child’s health and hygiene needs are unmet in school, this affects their ability to focus on classes and make the most of each school day. Not enough toilets, a lack of drinking stations, and missing soap in the bathroom may seem like small matters. But this is actually part of a bigger WASH problem for Southeast Asia, where many countries lack comprehensive hygiene education programs. At Thrive, we work to provide clean water, sanitation facilities, and other support programs that schools in Southeast Asia need the most.
With the proper support systems in place, a young Vietnamese boy can now go to school and look forward to learning new things every day. He no longer has to worry about missing discussions in his favorite class whenever he needs to use the toilet and the line is too long. A girl in Cambodia can enjoy after-school activities even more since clean drinking water is readily available. Gone are the days of lugging a large water bottle from home just to ensure that she has enough water to keep her hydrated and refreshed until the end of a long day. In Laos, a little child who just started attending a small village school can freely share and enjoy food with classmates. Colorful posters on classroom walls remind them to wash their hands before and after eating at their new washing stations, complete with soap and a towel for drying. For these young students, handwashing has become a fun activity.
Our goal at Thrive is to create conducive learning by making these health and sanitation services more accessible. And when the students grow up, they can look back at their younger years and cherish the memories of feeling happy and healthy in school.
At the heart of our programs are strong partnerships with government, private sector, civil society groups, and local communities. We also implement learning and feedback strategies to strengthen our approaches to promoting gender and socially inclusive WASH practices in our partner communities.