Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Relief

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami Emergency Relief (118th report)
The Global Handwashing Dance performed at a child-rearing assistance event in Rikuzentakata City

[RIKUZENTAKATA, JAPAN, 8 November 2011]

On 3 November, at “Takada no Warashi-ba”, an event to promote child-rearing assistance held in Rikuzentakata City, Iwate Prefecture by the Executive Committee for Community Child-rearing Projects, children were taught how to perform the Global Handwashing Dance. The Global Handwashing Dance is a dance used as a fun way to teach children the correct way to wash their hands.

“Takada no Warashi-ba” has been held since 2010 with the objective of promoting mutual support and relationship-building within the community, and in efforts to create an environment where children can live healthy and happy lives. This year marks the event’s third anniversary, and the wonderful weather drew families to the event by the dozens.

The Japan Committee for UNICEF (JCU) set up a booth at the event to teach children proper handwashing technique, which helps in the prevention of influenza, the common cold and other spreadable viruses. JCU’s booth also distributed diapers as well as sanitary protection products for women, while children were given children’s books as part of the UNCIEF Children’s Mini Library project.

Volunteers from the Iwate Association for UNICEF wore handmade hats made to look like bubbles as they used picture cards to explain to children the importance of handwashing and special things to remember when washing their hands. When the volunteers asked the children when they wash their hands, the children shouted back energetic responses such as, “After playing outside!”, “After going to the bathroom!” and “Before eating!” Then the children were taught about the six key points in handwashing: the palms, fingernails, base of the thumbs, between the fingers and the wrists. Last but not least the volunteers and children joined hands to perform the Global Handwashing Dance.


The parents and children that participated in the event left with a new awareness of the importance of handwashing. As they left you could hear them saying, “I’m going to wash my hands the right way when I get home!” and “I’m going to put a poster on the wall to remind me how to do it!”

All photo credits: © Japan Committee for UNICEF

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