KARACHI: Receiving an award is possibly the best form of appreciation for the selfless champions working hard to instill good habits among our children, second only to breaking a world record. That is just what happened in Karachi this Global Handwashing Day when 20,000 participants led by 17 celebrities came together to help instill the habit of hand washing among young children.
In developing countries like Pakistan, experts say over 50,000 children are lost every year to diseases such as diarrhoea. Across the world 1.7 million children never reach the age of five because of of diseases that can be prevented by the simple act of washing one’s hands.
The mission to instill the habit of hand washing among children started out in 2008 when the first Global Handwashing Day was held and over 120 million children in over 70 countries participated. Today the initiative is endorsed by governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies and individuals.
Guinness World Record
The Global Handwashing Day event in Karachi was the largest in Pakistan with over 20,000 participants that were led by celebrities such as Waseem Akram, Ali Zafar, Fahad Mustufa, Shahzad Sheikh, Syra Shehroze, Anoushey Ashraf, Saira Kabeer, Yassir Hussain, Adnan Siddiqui, Zhalay Sarhadi, Sonya Hussain, Ashir Wajahat, Feroze Khan, Sajal Aly, Ahsan Khan and Hareem Farooq.
Under the banner of Unilever’s health soap Lifebuoy participants were made aware about the importance of hand washing with soap, the most cost-effective method to prevent diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia – the main causes of child mortality. In developing countries the simple act of washing your hands can make a big difference but is ignored due to lack of awareness.
To spread the message far and wide Lifebuoy held the ‘High Five For Hand Washing’ event with the promise that for every ‘high five’ Lifebuoy will teach five children how to wash their hands. What the team did not expect was to set a new Guinness World Record for the most number of double high-fives in relay in 60 seconds.