Through education we can save lives. Many lives.

guest post by Nina Claunch:

I was born in Madrid, Spain and that was the beginning of an early life filled with travel. My parents were missionaries and we moved anywhere from every few months to every few years. I spent my childhood mostly in South-East Asia, then we came to the US and continued traveling. I’ve been to many different countries and one of the things that I remember most about the places where I grew up is the filth that I saw. I vividly remember the flies, the stench, the diseases, and the children suffering from all of the poverty, dirt and diseases. I remember the hopelessness that surrounds these people whose kids are dying.

When I was a teenager, I rebelled against my parents and I left home to start my own journey at the age of 14. I refused to be a part of anything that was associated with missionaries and I built my own life the way that I wanted it.

I grew up, got married, had kids, put what I had seen away on a shelf, and have lived my life as most other mothers do: trying to give my children a safe, healthy and happy life.

I mostly forgot about charity. Then I was introduced to this project by Dr. Mohammad, and I began to realize that not a lot of people have the capability to move on and make a better life for themselves.

Not all the mothers in the world know with certainty that their kid is not going to die today from diarrhea or another horrible, water-borne illness. I have that privilege. I know for a fact that today will not be the day that my children succumb to diarrheal disease or something else because of lack of sanitation and hygiene. I know that they will have clean water today and every day to drink and bathe with. I also know that they know how to wash their hands and they are very good about practicing it daily. I know that because I’ve taught them how to and instilled in them a habit that has according to the statistics about diarrheal deaths and hand-washing, has saved their lives.

That itself makes me responsible. It makes me responsible because I have the knowledge to prevent diarrheal deaths. I have prevented it in my own three sons partially due to the fact that the country that I live in is culturally aware of basic sanitation. We know that by washing our hands before eating and after using the restroom we can prevent a great deal of horrible, nasty diseases and even deaths.

My education makes me responsible to others. That is why I am a part of the SUM1 team. Because through education we can save lives. Many lives. We don’t even know how many lives could possibly be saved through just this first trip. But we do know that if we don’t go, a lot of kids will die this year. Even just this minute. I feel that my first-world privilege makes me responsible to others. And if at this point all I can do is lend my hand to help SUM1 with educating the village of Saraiya about hand-washing and hygiene practices, then I am on board.

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