The best way to get a message across to children is through entertainment. This was evident from the interest shown by hundreds of students of Chennai Schools in knowing more about the significance of washing hands, at a programme organised on Friday by World Vision, which was interspersed with cultural events.

October 15 is observed as Global Handwashing Day and students of Chennai Girls Higher Secondary School on West Jones Road, Saidapet, began their day with a speech by Sarala Sasikumar, programme manager of the NGO, in which she emphasised the importance of washing hands to prevent spread of diseases.

Ms. Sasikumar said the NGO has been working with 19 slums in Saidapet since last year and chose three schools, which had many children from seven of the slums. The other two Chennai Schools selected were in Thideer Nagar and Kottur.

Between MGR and Rajinikanth film songs, the students were told various aspects concerning hygiene, including how worms found their way into the stomach and intestines because of not washing hands frequently. Statistics were used to drive home the message, including one which said that many of 20 lakh children, who die of diarrhoea every year in the country, could be saved by inculcating the habit of washing hands.

Artists from S.S. Creations, who presented skits and dressed up as MGR and Rajinikanth exhorted the children to wash their hands diligently. The students received a hand towel and soap at the end of the programme.

Principal of the Chennai School in West Jones Road S.K. Balasubramanian said the programme would help create awareness of hygiene among students and, in turn, their families. The school with 2,500 students has already set an example with several of its students taking up professional courses .

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