I want you to stop reading this right now. Get up and go to your kitchen or bathroom sink. Turn on the water. Cup your hands and take a drink. Close your eyes. Could you imagine not having access to water? Could you imagine not having clean drinking water and sanitation?
Millions of children around the world do not have access to safe, clean water or sanitation facilities. This detrimentally affects their health, education, relationships, and their very lives.
In countries around the world, women and children are responsible for collecting water for their families. They have to hike long distances, sometimes three to four miles at a time, and carry heavy, water-filled containers back to their homes. This exhausting chore can be damaging to children’s heads, necks and spines. These children, mainly girls, take on this responsibility at the age of 10.
Diseases from unsafe water and sanitation kills thousands of children each day. Unsafe water and sanitation can also cause parasitic infections, trachoma, and scabies.
Thousands. Of. Children. Each. Day.
Children miss school to collect water or with illnesses due to unsafe water and sanitation. Girls tend to drop out of school once they reach puberty due to the lack of sanitation facilities at their schools.
WaterAid is changing this.
They work to ensure children have safe and clean sanitation facilities. They provide safe drinking water centralized to the community to eliminate the need to carry water long distances.
WaterAid begins their programs with the children. They work with schools to hold educational classes, play games, and support clubs that promote healthy hygiene. These children take this information back to their families and become ambassadors of hygiene education to others.
“Since having the new water source life has changed in so many amazing ways. My status as a woman has been finally recognized. I have the time to look after my family as we have more time and energy.”
Providing clean water and healthy sanitation facilities not only improves cleanliness, it improves other things as well. One of these is nutrition. Not only do families have clean and safe drinking water to drink, they are now able to grow their own food and cook it safely. This reduces diarrheal diseases and malnutrition in the communities. Education is also improved because these same children no longer have to carry water long distances, they are healthier, and their performance at school increases. Safe drinking water and sanitation facilities also helps recruit teachers for the community.
Providing safe drinking water and clean sanitation facilities transforms the community and the residents’ lives. Children’s health improves, their education improves, they are able to spend more time with family and friends.
They are given the chance to play and be children. All because of safe drinking water.
WaterAid was founded in 1981 and currently has programs in 27 developing countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific region and Central America. They also have offices located in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Sweden to support their programs around the world.
Visit WaterAid online and read more about their programs and what you can do to help!
Get involved! Visit the website to see what you can do to become involved!
All information, pictures, and videos used with permission by WaterAid.org.