Gateway Gazette

Operation Eyesight: Teacher is “Mother of Cleanliness” to Her Students

Sarah - Operation Eyesight
Sarah inspects the students’ faces, hands and fingernails during the morning assembly

Sarah Kiruri, a teacher at Kishermoruak Primary School in Kenya, is dedicated to preventing the spread of the painful eye disease trachoma by encouraging her students to wash their hands and faces. Because she received training on the importance of personal hygiene from Calgary-based Operation Eyesight, each morning she inspects every student in her school to ensure their faces, hands and fingernails are clean. Her students have given her the nickname “Mama Safi,” which means “mother of cleanliness.”

Caused by bacterial infection, trachoma spreads through contact with eye discharge from infected people on hands, towels and clothing and also through direct transmission by flies. It is prevalent in the Narok District where Sarah’s school is located. Repeated infections cause irreversible blindness, but thanks to our generous donors, Operation Eyesight developed a borehole at the school to provide clean water and help stop the spread of this agonizing disease.

When Sarah joined the school, teachers would spend long hours looking for water – the nearest source a dirty pond seven kilometres away. Personal hygiene in the school was poor since the little water available was used for cooking and essential tasks only. Thanks to the borehole, the teachers are able to spend more time coaching their students. The school’s performance has improved and the student population has almost doubled. The students are cleaner and happier.

“We used to suffer from waterborne diseases, but now we are healthy,” explains Sarah. Sarah arrives at the school at 7 a.m. every day and inspects 380 students during the morning assembly. If a student does not meet the cleanliness standards, they are enlisted to sweep classrooms or clean the washing bay. On weekends, she visits neighbouring homesteads and talks to women about the importance of facial cleanliness and the use of latrines.

Sarah says she is grateful to Operation Eyesight for helping her discover her hidden passion of working with communities. And we are grateful to Sarah for her dedication! Together, we are working to eliminate trachoma and prevent blindness – for all the world to see!Operation Eyesight: Teacher is “Mother of Cleanliness” to Her Students
Sarah Kiruri, a teacher at Kishermoruak Primary School in Kenya, is dedicated to preventing the spread of the painful eye disease trachoma by encouraging her students to wash their hands and faces. Because she received training on the importance of personal hygiene from Calgary-based Operation Eyesight, each morning she inspects every student in her school to ensure their faces, hands and fingernails are clean. Her students have given her the nickname “Mama Safi,” which means “mother of cleanliness.”

Caused by bacterial infection, trachoma spreads through contact with eye discharge from infected people on hands, towels and clothing and also through direct transmission by flies. It is prevalent in the Narok District where Sarah’s school is located. Repeated infections cause irreversible blindness, but thanks to our generous donors, Operation Eyesight developed a borehole at the school to provide clean water and help stop the spread of this agonizing disease.

When Sarah joined the school, teachers would spend long hours looking for water – the nearest source a dirty pond seven kilometres away. Personal hygiene in the school was poor since the little water available was used for cooking and essential tasks only. Thanks to the borehole, the teachers are able to spend more time coaching their students. The school’s performance has improved and the student population has almost doubled. The students are cleaner and happier.

“We used to suffer from waterborne diseases, but now we are healthy,” explains Sarah. Sarah arrives at the school at 7 a.m. every day and inspects 380 students during the morning assembly. If a student does not meet the cleanliness standards, they are enlisted to sweep classrooms or clean the washing bay. On weekends, she visits neighbouring homesteads and talks to women about the importance of facial cleanliness and the use of latrines.
Sarah says she is grateful to Operation Eyesight for helping her discover her hidden passion of working with communities. And we are grateful to Sarah for her dedication! Together, we are working to eliminate trachoma and prevent blindness – for all the world to see!

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