Day 30 – Hand Washing

just soapIn 2005 I learned to make my own handmade natural soap from a book I took out of the library.  For me, soapmaking started as hobby and a way to take care of my beautiful, flowing mane of dreadlocks that I had at the time.  Little did I know that I was learning the science behind the most important tool for saving MILLIONS of lives all over the world.

As I told you yesterday, almost 2 million kids die every year from diarrhea.

The United Nations has proved that washing hands with soap has been found to reduce diarrhea by more than 40%  – EVEN IF no other sanitation policies have been implemented in a community.

Last year Forbes magazine wrote  an article highlighting that the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimated handwashing with soap could save the lives of over 600,000 children every year – the equivalent of 10 jumbo planes of children saved every day. But in a global review of 11 countries, (Ghana, India, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Peru, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and China) the average rate of handwashing after using the toilet is only 17 percent. This dips as low as 3 percent in Ghana and 1 percent in rural India. This is frightening because research demonstrates that hand washing with soap reduces the risk of diarrhea by 45 percent, pneumonia by 23 percent, and improves levels of school absenteeism by approximately 20 to  50 percent.

Before you get too ethnocentic, you should also know that the American Society of Microbiology have done studies that show in the United States,

97% of adult females and 92% of adult males say they wash their hands with soap but only 75% females and 58% males actually washed their hands.

50% of middle and high school students say they wash their hands but of these 33% of females and only 8% of males used soap while washing their hands.

The Minnesota Department of Health led a hand washing study at the 2003 State Fair and discovered that only 65% of females and 39% males actually washed their hands.

In Cambodia this is also a very large problem.

In 2008 the Adventist Development Relief agency finished a research project that concluded that less than 26 percent of rural Cambodians use good hand washing techniques regardless of access to clean water and hygiene knowledge. In addition, less than 6 percent of child caretakers properly washed their hands after changing a child’s soiled diaper or after defecation. This research also highlighted that the practice of hand washing in Cambodian homes is not dependent on the availability of soap, water, buckets, accessibility to hand washing areas, household size, amount of children, mother’s vocation, or educational level.

“There is a belief that hand washing with soap is a waste of money, water, and time,” said Satha Sin, public relations officer for ADRA Cambodia.

Wow. That statement shows how important it is that we bring the truth of the gospel everywhere we go.  The entire future of Cambodia can be changed, lives can be saved, and we can Do Justice just by the simple act of…

washing our hands.

Isaiah 1:16,17 -Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.

So to sum it all up… If you know how to wash your hands, you can Do Justice in Cambodia.  How ’bout it?  Why don’t you join us next summer?

Or you can also check out my online soap store. 10% of all gross sales are donated to provide homes, sanitation, and clean water for the displaced Borei Keila community in Cambodia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *