Surakshya Godar and Manjit Subedi
The students greet us.
Numerous greetings, eyes shining and sparkling, ready to work. We were glad amid little ones, who were lively, bright, and innocent at heart. We could not contain all the delights of working with the students of the child club, a group formed in the school with the participation of the students, the concept of which was pioneered in Nepal by ECCA in 1992. After being engaged and collecting experience in various WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) programs, we got engaged in anti-head lice project implemented in 7 schools of Lalitpur district, which was conducted in technical and financial partnership with Antenna Foundation, Switzerland. The program consisted of awareness raising and treatment of head lice. Involvement in the project gave both of us a lifelong experience on trust, feeling of cooperation, altruism, and respect for one another.
Working with the students of the Child club was a great experience. Everyone was always ready, and had their own way of working, managing resources and resolving conflict. Our jaws dropped whenever the lead was taken over by the students – from registering the names to the spraying of anti-head lice solution. As both of us were College students, proper time management was one factor that created ups and downs. Preparing and managing the anti-head lice solution took half day of vigorous work.
Having lived in the urban area and created a fixed mindset of clean hygiene and sanitation was in contrast to the actual situation. Despite having sound knowledge about sanitation and hygiene, the number of students who were infected with head lice was much higher than what we had expected. One little student, in the second week of the program, came running scratching her head saying “me first” as her hair was infested with head lice, which she wanted to get rid of, as she was facing intense itching.
The program took three weeks to complete, as the solution has to be applied three times (in the interval of one week). The Child Club students gave us feedback that the program has changed their behavior and personality, benefitting not only the present scenario but also the future. Some of the skills they gained are – capacity building, teamwork, leadership development and feeling of co-operation.
As ECCA has been focusing on mainly remote areas, getting the experience to work in urban areas and finding (and solving) problems near us was a small blessing for both of us.
During feedback, the parents expressed heartfelt thankfulness, as the head lice was becoming threatening. Both of us are glad to be a part of the anti-head lice project. Reaching the community and dealing with each one of the students was a big break for both of us. ECCA creates an open platform for the youths and respects their ideas. The very essence of helping the community and each person individually benefits immensely, not only the society but the counselors as well. The lessons and the experience gained during the program will be remembered by both of us.