Improving the hygiene of children living on the streets

Many children that live on the street have a challenge of maintaining hygiene and sanitation among themselves and this is as a result of the environment, the work they do to earn a living, places they feed from, and where they sleep. This is a very big challenge to them since on the streets they do not have time to keep themselves clean and no one is there to try guide and advise them to do so. However, through the work of S.A.L.V.E. International assistance has been extended to the children living on the streets and this is done through the street walks conducted in Jinja town by the social workers meeting the children on the street to build trust and encourage them to attend our sports and Drop in Centre.

How we help at the Drop In centre

Big thanks goes to the funders of the drop in centre activities because this funding has helped us to run the activities and services that we offer to the children attending our drop in centre. We are able to buy them the soap that they use for washing their clothes and bathing. We also pay for the children’s water bills and also buy the basins for the children to use for washing and bathing. This has given the children living on the streets chance to improve on their hygiene and sanitation. It has also helped them to be liked by some of the community members and look presentable in public, as many people do not like associating with the children living on the streets due to the way they appear with dirty clothes. This makes it difficult for some of the community members to trust them and most of the children living on the streets are called different names like thugs, thieves, pick pocketer, useless, beggars and many others that can isolate them in the community.

Not only are they able to wash their clothes and bathe, but we also encourage them to cut their hair short and keep their nails short. We encourage them to wash their hands before eating anything they are given(food) and wash their hands after eating. Furthermore hygiene lessons are conducted with them to equip them with knowledge and create awareness about some of the diseases that they can acquire from poor hygiene which can even be risky to their lives.

Causes of poor hygiene

But the truth remains that the children living on the street live their life with a very poor hygiene and this is caused by the following reasons:

1- The source of food that they eat on the street: Most of the children have no income generating activities and the only chance to have food is by going to the dust bins to look for thrown out foods and if they fail they go to the small restaurants around town to work for leftovers that people leave on the plates. Leftovers are given to them after they have done some work like fetching water, disposing of rubbish before, which means in their hunger they might forget to wash their hands before eating.

2- The places they sleep: All the children on the streets sleep on the verandas on the streets of Jinja town and use sacks as their bed sheets, blanket and mattresses. Most of them wake up dusty and dirty, which is part of the reason we encourage them to attend the Drop in Centre to wash their clothes and bathe. Being clean in body helps to refresh you for the day ahead.

We also take care of them during illnesses; take them to the hospital or clinics for further medical checkups; pay their medical bills; monitor how they respond to the medication and make sure that they gain healthy weight.

The children living on the streets of Jinja Town together with S.A.L.V.E. International gratefully appreciate all the support, efforts, love and the heart that you are giving towards helping to change the lives of these children. We are pleased that together we are keeping
the children healthier and giving them a chance of a brighter future.

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