Clean water and proper sanitation and hygiene methods are vital to preventing the spread of disease. In most impoverished countries, people lack access to sanitary facilities and clean water or are often completely unaware of safe hygienic practices. The Philippines is one such country, where more than 26 million people use unhygienic facilities.
Alma Talipasan is a day care teacher in Cotabato province, one of the nation’s poorest. She would buy bottled water for the children when she could, but would have to send them home to use the bathroom since the day care lacked toilet facilities. “I have long been waiting for help, but it seems like nobody heard,” she said. “Every day is a struggle.”
Samaritan’s Purse helped move the day care center from an old building to a safer location. We then built latrines and hand-washing stations, and taught children and parents healthy hygiene practices. “My child knows the proper way to wash her hands and brush her teeth, and she doesn’t want to skip classes anymore,” said Simeon Angkal, one of the children’s parents.
Narcia and Anisa work at different day care centers in Cotabato province. These facilities also lacked access to clean water, forcing the teachers to gather water from an unclean community well. Seeing the significant need, Samaritan’s Purse built hand-washing stations, latrines, and hand pumps for the two day cares. The children also received hygiene training, while the teachers learned how to filter the water.
“I don’t have to fetch water from the unsafe wells, and my children won’t have to drink that water anymore,” Anisa said through the tears rolling down her cheeks. “Water means life to us. Samaritan’s Purse gave us hope.”