All Hands On Deck for Global Hand Washing Day 2017
By Monica Sanchez
Raleigh International challenges you to put your hands in the air like you do care for Global Hand Washing Day. On October 15th, 2017, the world will celebrate Global Hand Washing Day, a day that reminds us how easy it is to contribute to the prevention of diseases.
For those of us who were raised in first world countries, it is hard to recall a single moment when we were taught that washing our hands, taking a shower, or cleaning our face is a necessity in order to avoid falling ill. Those messages of health bombard us everywhere. Hygiene is a no brainer. It is part of our daily routine. It is hardly discussed at home because it is just something we do without thinking. The day cannot begin and the night will not end without dousing soap and water on our hands, face, or body.
While the choice to keep up with daily hygiene is little more than an afterthought in first world countries, such choices will result in life or death in places like Costa Rica. Keeping up with healthy hygiene practices is a simple way to extend life expectancy and improve the quality of life, but in reality, these practices are not so simple for some communities. In order to prevent contagious diseases, washing one’s hands is the obvious choice for residents in first world countries, but it is the obvious choice for some Costa Ricans to spend their hard earned money on food for their families, themselves, and neighbors rather than buying soap. It is the obvious choice for Costa Ricans to drink what clean water they have access to instead of dumping it on their hands and face. Things that are considered necessities differ when resources are scarce.
At Raleigh International, we are dedicated to ensuring that resources are not scarce for communities in need in Costa Rica and other locations around the world. Providing basic necessities, such as soap and clean water, is how our organization strives to extend and improve the quality of life for Costa Ricans. While it is crucial to provide basic necessities and services for the people of Costa Rica, the concern also lies in what will occur in these communities after the assistance is no longer there.
How do we ensure that these communities will thrive after we leave?
We do so through the input of important hand washers. The contributions of our important hand washers have helped to bring about long lasting, better livelihoods for the indigenous people of Costa Rica. Significant hand washers are the young volunteers who are sent to communities to contribute toward aiding and building self-sustaining communities. Leadership skills are crucial to the success of our future, and at Raleigh International, we develop young leaders by giving them the opportunity to make decisions and contributions that will positively impact the world. Young volunteers are placed in situations in which they must demonstrate, explain the importance of, and assist with maintaining access to healthy handwashing resources. Their efforts toward building self-sustaining communities will prove to create confident leaders for positive change.
Other notable hand washers are project partners who assist our organization by establishing a line of communication between communities in need, the Costa Rican government, and their national parks. Access to basic healthcare, including handwashing resources, is a major concern, and government aid can serve the communities we assist when we must leave to help communities in other locations. Resources, such as clean water, can be accessed through the country’s national parks, and we want to help communities effectively and fully utilize such resources. Our helpful hand washers who connect communities to government and national park resources are vital to our operation, and we appreciate their contributions.
The most important hand washers are those within the communities our organization aids who strive to maintain the resources and practices provided for them. Our program has been successful in the past and grown exponentially thanks to the continued efforts of these hard working, ambitious people.
What are some ways you can contribute to youth leadership, prevent disease, and save lives?
Donate soap, other hygiene products, or a monetary contribution to Raleigh International. Donations will be dispersed accordingly to those who need it most, which will allow precious lives to continue on and thrive. If you want to take it a step further and do your part to make the world a better place, join the Raleigh team by volunteering and helping communities in need of assistance with disease prevention. Cleaner hands means healthier communities, happy hearts, and the only thing that should ever be contagious: positivity. Although healthy habits should be celebrated every day, remember to think fondly of Raleigh International come October, and contribute to the beautiful people of Costa Rica on Global Handwashing Day 2017.
*Originally written for Raleigh International (Non-profit)