Eric Muragijimana(age of 9) lives with his sick mother in Rwanda, Mukiza CDP (Community Development Project area). Putting food on the table is already a problem for them, so Eric’s family simply has no time to consider their health and sanitation. Eric has to walk on the road scattered with the rough gravel with his naked feet every day. That's why he suffers from chigoe flea infection. Chigoe fleas lay eggs on the hands or feet of humans. Preventing chigoe flea infection is simple: one merely needs to wear shoes and always wash his/her hands and feet.
Good Neighbors has implemented the Kokkasin Project named after the children’s shoes in Korean—in five CDPs in Rwanda: Cyiri, Gisozi, Mukiza, Ngoma, and Runda. There were 7,000 children (including Eric) provided with a pair of athletic shoes. The children also attended educational programs on the dangers of skin infection and the importance of sanitation. The children took the lessons to heart and began to wash their feet before putting on their shoes. They also had new shoes to protect their soles against the rough gravel of the roads in their hometown, which resulted in a safer walk to school. Staff members of Good Neighbors also conducted door-to-door visits and informed the parents and other family members of the importance of domestic hygiene.
However, providing simple metarial support is not enough to heal the wounds on children's feet. For a fundamental solution to the problem, the children must be provided with a holistic response, from hygiene education to medical facilities in which they can obtain relevant help if they are wounded. This is the mission of Good Neighbors—to bring people around the world together, in search of a healthier future for our children.
For this year, Good Neighbors plans to focus on providing more support to maternal and children’s health as well as for disease prevention and management. Good Neighbors has also been conducting a series of public health projects, which combines facility support with education and awareness campaigns.
By HOJEONG BAN / GOOD NEIGHBORS INTERNATIONAL