“The Elmo toys have sparked interest in the students to attend lessons and pay attention. We have seen so much improvement in students’ performance,” he says.
Over the past few weeks, the Tickle-Me Elmo toys have helped the children of Mandondo Primary School to learn critical behaviours such as wearing sandals to go to the toilet and safe water storage. “Students have started wearing shoes for hygiene’s sake, unlike in the past,” says Mr Nabuyanda. “They wash their hands after using the toilet without anyone reminding them, because they now know the importance of sanitation and hygiene.”
Children have also been encouraged to take healthy habits home and teach their parents and siblings, increasing the program’s impact. “The students have influenced their communities by telling their parents to put handwashing facilities near the toilets and have rubbish pits,” says Mr Nabuyanda.
For Nachoombe and her friends, the delivery of Elmo toys has brought much laughter and fun to their lessons about clean water and improved sanitation and hygiene. “We love to learn about sanitation and hygiene with Elmo. I don’t get sick ... like I did in the past,” she explains happily.
Nachoombe dreams of one day being a nurse, and with the help of Elmo, she’s learning important lessons to carry into her future.
On behalf of the children of Mandondo Primary School and thousands of others across Zambia, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Iraq, we would like to thank HeadStart International. Your generous donation of Tickle-Me Elmo toys has brought colour, joy and excitement to classrooms around the world, and is helping to deliver life-saving messages to children and their communities.