When Than was in elementary school she had to take turns with the other children carrying water from a well about 20 minutes away. The well was the only clean water source for the school, so every week a different team of students made several trips to bring back drinking water for their classmates.
Now, more than 30 years later, Than’s children are enrolled at the same school—and their experience will be dramatically different because of clean water projects implemented by Samaritan’s Purse.
Our teams are providing clean water access and encouraging healthy hygiene habits at schools in Myanmar through projects such as rainwater catchments, latrines, handwashing stations, and monthly hygiene club meetings.
Samaritan’s Purse recently built a large rainwater catchment for Than’s children’s school, which means the school will save money on renting a vehicle to drive into town to collect donated water from local merchants. We also built three additional latrines. The school only had three for more than 170 students.
Than said she is glad for the projects, especially the handwashing stations—the first ever at the school—and for the hygiene teaching.
“My children learned about handwashing before eating and after using the toilet,” she explained, and they now know the importance of drinking only clean water.
Than is a member of a community water group started by Samaritan’s Purse and participates in monthly meetings to learn about proper hygiene. The meetings provide unique opportunities for community leaders and parents to learn alongside the children. Than is incorporating what she learns into her daily life, such as properly cleaning all her cooking utensils.
“I am very happy and very grateful that Samaritan’s Purse came here and is teaching the children,” Than said.
Win, the school’s headmaster, is also thankful for the clean water projects. Win, who has served as headmaster for five years, said that before Samaritan’s Purse came, clean water access and healthy hygiene was difficult for teachers and students. She even had a hard time getting her son to wash his hands.
“Now, my son wants to practice washing his hands at home,” Win said. “Kids are going home and sharing what they have learned with their parents.”
“Kids are sharing what they have learned with their parents.”
Win also said that the new facilities will help set a foundation for the future. “The school will be more inviting with these facilities.”
Hnin is a seventh grader at Win’s school. Her favorite subject is learning English, and she likes playing tag with her friends.
The Samaritan’s Purse hygiene club and clean water projects are creating a safer, healthier environment for students like Hnin who are eager to learn.
“I want to be a teacher when I grow up,” Hnin said. “I’m always observing new things.”
Hnin is smart, articulate, and cheerful. Yet, a challenging home life has forced her to quickly grow up. Hnin’s parents are farmers who live near their fields, so Hnin and her younger sister live with their grandmother and only see their parents on special occasions.
Sometimes, when school is out, the sisters help their parents with the crops.
“It’s difficult when my parents are away,” Hnin said. “It’s dangerous. There is [human] trafficking in the fields, so I have to walk with my family.”
Hnin enjoyed attending our hygiene club because the children played games, and she likes to be competitive. She also learned new information.
“I learned that I should use a latrine and how to wash my hands,” Hnin said. “I also learned about different food groups.”
Hnin is just one of hundreds of children in Myanmar who are now headed down a path toward better health due to our clean water projects. Please pray that these children will grow up healthy and strong. Pray also for our staff who are demonstrating God’s love to students and teachers.
Save the life of a child or adult in a developing country by providing safe water along with health and hygiene education that will help protect them from deadly, but preventable, diseases. Simple and effective water filters, community wells and water storage solutions, and sanitation facilities can all drastically improve lives and open doors to share the eternal hope of Jesus Christ.