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Six-year old in Pakistan takes the lead in cleaning up

Samiullah demonstrates how to properly wash your hands.
Samiullah demonstrates how to properly wash your hands.
January 26, 2012

Sometimes mastering the simplest of tasks can make a world of difference. Six-year-old Samiullah from Pakistan is an expert in hand-washing and has been teaching friends, family and neighbors about the positive impacts of good hygiene.

He knows all six steps like the back of this hand:

  1. Wet your hands thoroughly 
  2. Lather them with soap 
  3. Scrub the palms and backs 
  4. Wash each finger separately 
  5. Rinse your hands thoroughly 
  6. Dry your hands

Like father like son

Samiullah’s father, Subhanullah, is a practicing homeopathic physician who, along with 450 others, was trained as a community resource person by Plan as part of a hand-washing campaign that has drastically cut incidences of the water-borne diseases that once plagued the 16,000 residents in the 12 villages near their home.

While Subhanullah uses his medical expertise to help with raising awareness of about the benefits of good hygiene, Samiullah relies on his youthful energy.

“Let me tell you all how to wash your hands properly as by washing our hands properly we can make sure all the germs go down the drain,” said Samiullah enthusiastically to a group of children. “You need to understand when to wash your hands: after using the toilet, after playing, and before and after eating.”

With such confidence and conviction, Samiullah has persuaded dozens of his peers to change their old ways.

Healthy and happy

With the children of Samiullah’s and other villages well schooled in the fine art of proper handwashing, they no longer suffer from recurrent diarrhea, vomiting and other ailments – plus they are keen to share the good news with others.

Among them is 9-year-old Zakia, who says she hardly ever used to wash her hands and didn’t even know the simple steps. But thanks to the training she got from Samiullah, she is another young expert who can teach others.

To further remind people to wash their hands, more and more brightly-colored soap dishes and bars of soap now decorate household and community tap stands. But, the transformation hasn’t stopped there. Those who have learned about hand-washing are also learning about the benefits of latrines and proper sanitation, leading to a huge jump in demand for toilets in the villages.

Learn more about Plan's work in Pakistan.


 Max Lewandowski February 8, 2012 11:57 AM
Zakia,you have done a wonderful in 12 villages.Along with your other 450 new friends I\'m quite proud of all you\'ve accomplished. Sincerly Max Lewandowski of Indianapolis,Indiana U.S.A.
 Steven February 8, 2012 5:54 PM
I anticipate, and hope, I will read that Samiullah is in a position of leadership in Pakistan.

I am very impressed.