One of the most beautiful gifts in life is to breathe and be happy. When you feel good, you emanate a positive energy that reaches out to sweep over everyone and everything around you. To experience happiness it is paramount you ensure that you are in good health, and your well being is fully taken care of. In creating good well being within yourself, you have to have a good mental health, high life satisfaction, prosperity, and a sense of meaning or purpose. No matter what walk of life you come from, this should be sought by everyone as it includes so many positive elements. Feeling healthy, purposeful, socially connected, and happy on a daily basis is a wonderful way to be!
GVI strives to ensure these feelings are felt across the world. Programmes are developed to ensure that everyone can seek this out, which is achieved by building safe and healthy spaces that promote good health and well being. We know that ensuring healthy lives and promoting good well being for all at any age is important to building prosperous societies. From GVI’s recent Impact Report, https://www.gvicanada.ca/the-impact-ethics-report/, we can be inspired by the incredible improvements that have been made in Pokhora, Nepal.
In 2017 they met with a government primary school’s Principal, and found out that his goal was to have his students feel happy and proud of their learning environment. His larger goal was to have the parents of the community want to send their children to his school, even though it was a government school. The GVI team of staff and volunteers in Pokhora then set out to work together with the school to support these objectives. They knew that they needed to help build a safe and healthy space to achieve their objectives, and that in doing so it would also help those attending the school to achieve good health and well being. Over 18 months the team repaired, cleaned and painted seven classrooms, rebuilt the surrounding wall of the school so the area was more secure for the students and school staff, built an area to dispose of rubbish that incorporated recycling, ran a series of lessons on recycling and waste disposal, introduced hand washing and toothbrushing routines as part of the UNICEF WASH programme which included building toothbrushing stations, introduced daily health lessons, offered a health screening and education day which lead onto workshops, and improved the toilet facilities. By making all these improvements to the school’s facilities it could lead to improved attendance, and attendance at school has a positive effect on well being. If children are willing to attend school and gain an education, they improve their future prospects of employment. This in turn will lead to them being able to make sound decisions on the direction they wish their lives to go in, and so create a sense of meaning. With the introduction of establishing good health routines, students can benefit from a lifetime of healthy habits.
To be able to achieve so much in 18 months is truly inspirational, and shows that by working with communities you can pave the way for so many to achieve good health and well being in their lives. As a hub that only had its first volunteer arrive 11 months ago, we can look towards the Pokhara hub and derive ideas from them that can help to improve the health and well being for our students. Earlier this year we launched our dental hygiene initiative, so now before every class students brush their teeth. We also run a Women’s Empowerment Programme which has focused on Women’s Health and we aim to expand to new locations so that we can educate more women on this topic. From looking at the Pokhara programme we can see that by improving a students learning space can also lead to improving health and well being. This is something we are in the early stages of planning at some of our own programme locations. Recently we had a fundraiser to raise funds to make substantial renovations to the classrooms which we teach in each day. We want to create a safe and happy space for our students, in which they have room to play and to learn. At the moment we do not have adequate classrooms, tables or seating. Our aim is to create a quiet and clean study space and an engaging classroom with plenty of room for interactive activities.
By building a safe and healthy space for students, means we are working towards The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing. By incorporating this goal into our own objectives we will not only be helping to promote good health and well being within the local community, but we will encourage it within everyone else involved in our programmes. From volunteers, to staff, to local partners, we will strive to empower everyone to take control of their own health and well being, so together we can emanate positivity, breathe and be happy!