Screen_Shot_2015-02-16_at_8.40.56_PMThe Pan American Health Organization and the World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) launched its #TOUCHINGLIVES international school talent contest in August of last year where they invited students from throughout the Americas to submit creative work that promotes hand washing, one of the most effective and low-cost measures for preventing disease and illness. And while there were countless submissions from schools across the Caribbean Region, we are very much delighted to report that a Belizean student from Yo Creek Compassion School in the Orange Walk District won one of the internationally recognized awards in the print category of the contest. Dr. Kathleen Israel is the Interim Representative for PAHO.


Dr. Kathleen Israel – Interim Representative, PAHO


“One of the students from this community Dianelly Carrillo, she got recognized in the competition for the written component a poem that she submitted and for me I think that is a wonderful thing and I think it just demonstrates how important it is to mould young minds no matter where they are, no matter how rural the community may be, no matter how small the school may be if the teachers are interested if they are involved with the children will also become enthusiastic about learning and about contributing so this is a contribution she has made not only for this community for which she originates in which the school is located but she is an inspiration to other schools and other students in Belize as well as region of the Americas well because as I mention to her poem would be doing the rounds it is documented for posterity, for life in the organs of the organization so it is a very important thing and as we all know hand washing as small as the action may seem it is one of the most important things to keep us healthy, so I want to congratulate the Principal Mr Rejon and I want to congratulat the other teachers and the students here.”


And while the school has won many contest and awards in Belize, the school’s principal Manuel Rejon says they are elated and look forward to getting the students engaged in future competitions.


Manuel Rejon – Principal, Compassion School


“The inspiration was I think the encouragement given here at school when it came to the importance of hand washing and we had various presentations leading to the creation of this poem and so we as a school we encourage all students to participate with the poetry and even with the video competition and so when the children were able to make that then we sent all their work to this international competition.”

Maria Novelo – Reporter


“Did you ever expect to win?”


Manuel Rejon – Principal, Compassion School


“Well being a small country and a small school knowing that we were competing with other countries and other schools that were bigger I thought that the chances were not or the probability of winning was not that high.”


Maria Novelo – Reporter


“Now you got international recognition from PAHO what does that mean for the school?”


Manuel Rejon – Principal, Compassion School


“It just gives us more motivation to participate in other future competitions and to use this as a spring board to other competitions in the future as well.”


Maria Novelo – Reporter


“What does that say to you, I mean a child from the rural community won this award, what does it says?”


Dr. Kathleen Israel – Interim Representative, PAHO


“It says to me that once you focus on the young minds no matter what or where they are is it possible to do what it appears to be impossible thins and children are very adaptable once we spent some time with them and moulding them and to me this is even more creditable because as we all know whether we like it or not rural children are of more disadvantage than city children I am not sure what is the situation in Belize but I know in general that is the case they track more resources and stuff like that and these children have to walk far to school so the fact that they can rise to the level of a regional and international recognition by something they created, something they submitted I think it is fabulous.”


Carrillo received an official certificate from PAHO/WHO and the school received a special plaque.

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