Friday, June 22, 2007

The Joy of Going Barefoot

Summer has officially arrived! A season of endless daylight that inspires most children to play hard, usually barefoot, and catch cool sips of water from a garden hose when they can. Ordinarily, we don’t think twice about letting our children play without shoes or even walking around ourselves barefoot. But for children who live in unsanitary conditions year-round, walking barefoot is an invitation to become hosts to parasites.

They could be hiding in standing water, waiting to latch onto a child’s bare foot. Or they could be lurking undetected on a dirty hand, eager to make their way into a child’s mouth. Parasites are just waiting for a chance to strike.

Worms live inside many impoverished children. Poor living conditions, inadequate sanitation and contaminated water serve as prime breeding grounds. Once inside, parasites consume up to half of the nutrients that a child eats.

That’s why for more than 10 years, Children International has promoted its anti-parasite campaign in impoverished communities around the world. We help provide anti-parasite medicine to children and families who live in areas with a high risk of infection. We also take a proactive approach, providing health and hygiene education to teach families how to keep parasites from returning. Our efforts are working, and we’re having a positive impact on the health of our sponsored children.

And with a deep appreciation to our sponsors, who donate so generously each year, we can continue to distribute regular doses of anti-parasite medication to infected children and families. And maybe one day, all of our sponsored children will know the joy of playing barefoot without the worry of illness.

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