A community changed by water

How safe water changed Evelyn’s life.

It all starts with safe water, one of the essential ingredients for the healthy development of children. We’ve seen in our Child Development Sponsorship Programme what a lack of access to safe water means; illness, missing school and a sense of vulnerability. But we’ve also seen the amazing impact it can have on children and communities. And Evelyn knows this only too well.

Evelyn, a mother in Uganda , can only fetch water from two places. A narrow stream coated with algae and surrounded by swampland is one option. It’s two kilometres from her home across difficult, muddy ground. As the closest source, it tends to be overcrowded and Evelyn often returns home empty-handed.

Fetching water in Uganda

“If you go to the well at 7 a.m., you return at 10 a.m. If you send a kid, that child comes with no water. If you are busy, you can go without water,” Evelyn says.

Contaminated borehole

The second option is an old contaminated borehole, five kilometres from home. She dreads using this because the water frequently makes her four-year-old daughter, Betty, sick with stomach pains, worms and typhoid.

Yet Evelyn tends to choose the second option because she can at least get some water. But as a result Betty spends a lot of time in the hospital and Evelyn occasionally suffers from typhoid, putting great strain on their finances.

Tragically, dirty water has led to the death of loved ones.

Because of dirty water; there was cholera and diarrhoea. I lost three people: an uncle, a niece and a neighbour.

In 2014, Compassion partnered with the local church to build a borehole and hand pump for Evelyn’s community. It was so popular it struggled to meet the daily demand. In 2015, the borehole was upgraded with a solar-powered pump system and four taps, allowing immediate access to large volumes of water and a 10,000-litre storage tank.

The water now serves more than 1,400 people. Evelyn’s family is part of that group.
“The water is clean and very near my home and we no longer have an issue of lining up because there are four serving points. Now the children don’t have to return home to drink water. They can drink water from school.” Evelyn says.

What makes me happy is that we no longer fall sick. My daughter used to fall sick, but now she is fine.

950 children from the Plateaux Region of Togo are waiting to receive the same safe water that Evelyn does. And we’re planning on making it happen. We’re raising funds for each project in Togo to drill a borehole connected to a solar-powered pump and storage tank, allowing access to safe water at all times. Find out more or make a donation. 

Give safe water

WORDS : Paul Dymott

PHOTOS : Compassion International

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