Education plays a key role in health awareness which is important for development. Students who have an understanding of health conditions and hygiene contribute more to the improvement of living conditions. Schools can teach students how to avoid or fight disease.
A school in Henan Province in China provides a good example. Here it is estimated that up to a million people are infected with HIV. But this is a school with a difference. The pupils at this boarding school are HIV positive. It was founded in 2006 by the Hong Kong Alliance Against Aids. These children have either been orphaned or rejected by their parents. They have nowhere else to go.
Just like any other school children, they do lessons every day and play with their friends. The school aims to make the children physically active. They help gather vegetables for lunch for example. And the school teaches hygiene and health awareness.
In Ethiopia health education is a big challenge. It is estimated that more than half of the children there never go to school. But Tsegay the puppet has managed to reach those children, to teach them the basic principles of health and hygiene. Tsegay Loves Learning is a TV show created by a talented young teacher. It is certainly a creative way to provide the children with health education.
Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries and many people don’t have access to TV. Some episodes are financed by UNESCO and distributed free of charge via public TV.
There are also outreach programmes. The team goes out and holds community screenings -where there’s no TV or electricity they take their own batteries, and show lots of episodes to both parents and children and have community discussions afterwards.
The programme has won many awards, but the dream remains the same – to make this kind of programming available to everyone all across the continent of Africa.
In Amsterdam long-term sick children now have continuity in education during their stay in hospital. In the main hospital in Amsterdam, 16 year-old Kristina is waiting for a kidney donor which means undergoing dialysis four times a week. But a team of teachers is helping her keep up with her studies.
Education doesn’t only keep children in touch with the real world, it also contributes to their recovery. A positive hospital environment, the support of teachers and parents, and contact with other children all help children get better soon.