When Students Learn Hygiene, Whole Communities Benefit

Chidren hygiene Tanoto Foundation

At two schools in Labuhan Batu, North Sumatra—SD Negeri 112177 Aek Nabara and SD Negeri 116878 Kalibening—students recently received vital lessons in personal hygiene that will last them a lifetime. Thanks to support from the Tanoto Foundation, these young students are now prepared to become agents of positive change as they share their knowledge with their families and friends.

Just before training, the students took a survey to gauge their current level of hygiene practices, such as brushing their teeth and engaging in regular bathing and hand-washing. Instructors were concerned to note that only about half the students who took the survey understood the importance of brushing their teeth before coming to school. Many students indicated that they did not take baths as part of their morning routines to prepare for school. In addition, during the training sessions, some students appeared hesitant to use the items given to them in their new hygiene kits, out of concern for spoiling them. Yet after instruction, the students demonstrated eagerness to practice good dental and personal care, as well as regular hand-washing. A follow-up survey also revealed that they had asked their parents to buy toothpaste and other supplies to replace those they had used up. In this way, whole families and communities benefit from the lessons directed to one group of schoolchildren.

The Tanoto Foundation, a nonprofit organization started by Indonesian entrepreneur and CEO of RGE Group Sukanto Tanoto, is dedicated to lifting Indonesia’s underserved populations out of poverty through wider educational and social welfare initiatives.

In the 21st century, many of Indonesia’s people, particularly in rural areas, do not have access to clean, safe water and other resources for maintaining good health. In addition, because a significant number of people do not have an adequate education, they may not have adopted hygienic practices such as washing hands and practicing proper dental care techniques. As Indonesia’s large population continues to grow at the rate of about 1.3 percent annually, new generations will need constant support and education as they develop the personal care routines that will promote their good health. Through the efforts of the Tanoto Foundation, many of today’s students are now off to just such a healthy start.



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