Indonesian Coffee Farmers Thrive and Rejoice with Accessible Clean, Safe Water

Did you know that some of the farmers who produce the coffee we drink must make long, dangerous treks to collect safe drinking water for their families? At Water Mission, we’re honored to serve coffee farmers and provide clean, safe water that is readily accessible.

Rina and her daughter drink safe water from a tap stand in their community.

Rina Nur*, a coffee farmer and mother of four in Indonesia, used to walk down a steep hill with her family in order to fetch water. This water was not safe to drink, but it was their only option.

Rina said, “Before Water Mission came, we had to get water twice a day from the spring down on the mountainside.”

While the older two children helped at the coffee farm, Rina and her two younger children traveled down the hill on foot several times a day, with each trip taking more than an hour away from school and work. Not only was the trek long, but the rocky path posed hazards; even a simple rainstorm made the path very slippery and put the children in danger.

Millions of women and children walk an average of 3.5 miles to collect water that’s not safe.

The people of Rina’s community have made this journey for the past 250 years. Now, because of the support of our friends and partners, they no longer have to make this daily trek. Water Mission heard about this community’s story and learned the daily risks people have taken for so long to obtain water. Two years ago, after assessing the community’s needs, our team developed appropriate solutions to ensure that safe water would be easily accessible to everyone.

“These solutions begin with pumping the water from the spring to the treatment facility at the top of the hill where it is stored in four large water tanks,” says Sean McSwain, Water Mission director of partnership support. “Then safe water flows to 14 tap stands placed near the coffee farm and the farmers’ homes.”

Access to safe water means children can focus on their education and families can build brighter futures.

Since the project began in 2017, it has served more than 1,700 people spanning 350 households, including many families like Rina’s.

Rina said, “Instead of stopping [work to collect water,] we can keep working… and because of this, we can save money.”

Rina’s children are healthier and attending school regularly. Because they don’t have to stop working to collect water, Rina and her husband can invest more time in their livelihood and can build a better life.

The lives of those in Rina’s community have been transformed through safe water solutions.

According to WorldAtlas, Indonesia is the world’s fourth largest coffee-producing nation and meets a large part of the global demand for specialty coffee beans. On some islands, most coffee producers are small-scale farmers who each work a limited amount of land. Nearby access to safe water meets a basic need and allows these small-scale farmers to harvest more coffee.

Drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing with safe water also improves the family’s health. For this, Rina rejoices. “I believe that God has heard our prayers and has given me and my family great health.”

While they live in a primarily Muslim country, Rina and her husband choose to live out the Christian faith. They belong to a monthly discipleship group at their church and Rina sings in the church choir. The provision of safe water is one of God’s blessings in their life, as it is for thousands of people globally. Meeting physical needs is a way for Water Mission to serve people of all faiths, showing God’s love around the world.

Entire communities, like those in the hills above Lake Toba, are experiencing hope through safe water. 

As we approach the holiday season, we invite you to consider how access to safe water blesses families around the world. Both individual and monthly gifts make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of people in Indonesia and elsewhere. We rejoice alongside them and we thank God for the health and hope that safe water brings.

Give the gift of safe water this Christmas.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of Christians living in Indonesia.

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