Clean hands are hard to find amongst the dust and soot from car exhaust on Saft Al Laban’s busy streets. Seated around a laptop screen, the students of Mish Madrasa learn about the importance of staying healthy.
Recognizing the several health concerns that plague Egypt, including Hepatitis C and foodborne illness, Mish Madrasa decided that healthiness begins with education. Mish Madrasa is focusing on educating the students about washing their hands, clipping their nails, and professional appearance.
Adding a category of health to the behavior table, students gain or lose points for cleanliness. “The students used to come to class sweaty from playing football,” remarked a volunteer, “now they walk carefully to class so they don’t get their clothes dirty.”
Salah, a 12 year old boy, proudly compares his combed hair to the boy next to him. “We are getting points on who dresses well and I want to win this week.”
“Mish Madrasa’s long term goal is to get the students involved in practicing healthy habits. As they get older, they will be able to make healthy choices without the incentive of gaining points,” Ossam explains. “We hope they will teach their brothers and sisters to wash their hands and help promote health at a grassroots level.”