May 07, 2015

Saur Solidarités supports the Wash Friendly School programme in Vietnam

The non-profit organisation XUÂN has set up the Wash Friendly School programme to promote the basic rules of hygiene in some of the most deprived regions of Vietnam. Phuoc Hao B is one of the schools to benefit from this initiative, with support from Saur Solidarités.

Giving impoverished children in remote regions of Vietnam the opportunity to use toilets, have a source of water where they can wash their hands, and drink clean water at school: Saur Solidarités is very supportive of the initiatives implemented by the XUÂN Wash Friendly School programme. So the Saur endowment fund has supported this non-profit organisation in rolling out such a project at Phuoc Hao B in Tra Vinh province. “On my travels to a number of Asian countries, I’ve always been struck by the problems that result from poor hygiene conditions and a lack of access to clean drinking water, especially in the schools of more isolated regions”, explains Saur Remote Metering Manager Frédéric Brunner. “So when a friend told me about the work being done by XUÂN, it seemed perfectly natural and logical to sponsor one of its projects in Vietnam and submit it to Saur Solidarités”. Hardly a year later, the 150 or so schoolchildren and their 17 teachers have experienced a radical change in their lives.

A school with decent sanitary conditions

The transformation of Phuoc Hao B school has taken many forms, thanks to the grant provided by Saur Solidarités. Not only has it funded the construction of separate toilet blocks for boys and girls, but also the drilling of a well, the installation of a water filtration system and the introduction of hand washing facilities. “Designing sanitary infrastructures is essential, but we want to go much further”, says XUÂN Director Yoko Youssouf. “So part of the money we receive is also used to train the teachers themselves in the fundamentals of day-to-day hygiene. They’re then in a position to adopt these good practices and ensure that the promotion of hygiene is fully integrated into the school curriculum followed by the children”. These awareness information initiatives also include parents and local authorities to facilitate a profound change in the habits of the youngest in society, not only at school, but also in everyday life.

Uniting the local community around the project

The Wash Friendly School project has made Phuoc Hao B school a lot more attractive to parents and children who otherwise have no access to clean drinking water. As a result, the quality of their lives has been substantially improved. The feedback received at the ‘Wash Celebration’ that marked the official opening of the facilities was unanimous. “This project has brought the local community together so that everyone involved feels part of the initiative and is committed to it”, continues Yoko Youssouf. “We were there to encourage them to choose their own local partners and contractors capable of doing the work using materials readily available locally”.
It is important to XUÂN that the facilities created are appropriate for the habits and lifestyles of the community, because the organisation has no intention of imposing a model adopted from another region or another country. It was this pragmatic approach to the concept of locally provided humanitarian aid that encouraged Saur Solidarités to contribute to the work done at Phuoc Hao B school.

XUÂN in action

Promoting good hygiene and a reliable supply of clean drinking water to schools in underprivileged regions of Vietnam are now the two central points of focus for the non-profit organisation XUÂN. XUÂN was set up in 1992, and its head office is based at Limonest in the Rhône region of France. Its work is concentrated in five regions of Vietnam where more than two million children – the majority of them from ethnic minorities – have no access to proper sanitation. More than 1,000 children now have access to clean drinking water, sanitary facilities and basic require

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