Léger Nerlande is a 52 year old teacher at the school in the town of Arcahaie, in the western department of Haiti. She used to view her role as just a teacher. She thought her place was to focus on the children’s learning and never paid much mind to sanitation or hygiene practices. She felt the school director should be more focused on that aspect than her. As a result, the school environment was still very dirty, there was no place for students to wash their hands.
A few months ago, parents in the school rallied together to participate in the WASH in the Schools program to learn about proper sanitation and hygiene practices. They realized that this is a group effort that needs to be attended to by everyone in the community, not just the school’s director.
After seeing the value of everyone participating in this initiative, Léger volunteered to be the committee secretary when they met with Haiti Outreach. She helped develop a sanitation plan to keep their school clean so the kids could stay healthy and avoid spreading germs. Now everyone in the school helps to ensure that all of the classrooms are kept clean. There are fixed washing stations with water and soap, and the bathrooms are always stocked with toilet paper.
Not only have they made a point to keep their washing and bathroom facilities in ship shape condition, but they have also started to care more for the school yard. They clean the yard twice a week, and put trash cans in the yard and in each classroom. Léger expressed her joy in saying, “I feel happy because I have the privilege and the responsibility to get involved in keeping my school clean.”