World Water Day, celebrated on March 22 annually, celebrates water and raises awareness on the importance to it.
There’s nothing more essential to life on Earth than water. Yet, many households around the world do not have access to it. Specifically, more than two billion people are struggling to access the quantity and quality of water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing, handwashing, and growing their food.
Freda Liu, World Vision Malaysia Advocate for Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) perfectly encapsulates our sentiments in a recent interview: “We are privileged to simply turn on the tap or pull the flush without a second thought. But there are many communities that still lack proper water and sanitation facilities.”
For a very long time, residents of Digelu Bora village in Ethiopia had nothing but the Negewo River as a source of water for consumption and daily chores. Waking up early in the morning, trekking for an hour and then queuing for another to fetch unclean water was the daily routine for 27-year-old Chaltu, and thousands of other women in her community.
“I lived the same routine for a long time and got used to the physical challenges of retrieving water. But my children were falling sick from the water every now and then, and it was painful to watch,” says the mother of three. “Illnesses like diarrhoea and stomach ache were frequent occurrence, and I had to take them to the health centre for treatments. But COVID-19 is quite different and scary, especially without clean water and hygiene facilities. I am not sure if the doctors have treatments for that.”
When World Vision drilled a new well and handed it over to the community, they were overjoyed and relief. Chaltu’s daughter, Gadisse (11) is one of them, but not just because of the short distance between their house and the new water point (which is only three minutes away!).
"My mother is relieved that I now get to drink clean water and wash my hands frequently. My sisters and I don’t fall sick and are enjoying better health too. We haven’t heard of anyone who has died from the coronavirus, but we understand that we need to wash our hands and maintain personal hygiene to prevent the spread of the disease.”
World Vision is reaching one new person with clean water every 10 seconds – that’s over two million people a year! Ultimately, we hope to provide access to clean water to every person in every community where we work around the world.
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