Each day, women and children around the world rise early in the morning to begin a long journey to find water. Many walk an average of three miles per day to collect water for their family. The route and terrain can be dangerous and the water they collect is often contaminated, making their families sick.
Collectively, women around the world spend 200 million hours per day walking for water.
More than 2.2 billion people lack access to safe water. Children and elderly people are among those most at risk from water-related illnesses; a problem 10-year-old Mwajabu from Tanzania experienced firsthand.
Like most children in Igamba, Tanzania, Mwajabu spent her days fetching water for her family. She collected water from a handpump that drew directly from a river where animals wade and people wash their bodies and clothes. Fertilizer and chemicals also drain directly into the water source.
Drinking this contaminated water resulted in illness. Mwajabu was very sick for prolonged periods of time, causing her to frequently miss school. She also had severe headaches from carrying the water bucket on her head while walking the long distance back home from the pump. This required her family to purchase medicine to help her with the pain.
Women and children around the globe face these same issues. The challenge of finding water, and the illness caused by waterborne diseases, prevent children from educational opportunities and women from providing for their families.
“School children’s performance is poor because most of the children spend time searching for water instead of doing their homework,” said Edda, mother of two in Igamba. “We use so much time searching for water… this slows our economic development.”
443 million school days are missed every year because of the global water crisis.
Thanks to supporters like you, Water Mission recently completed a safe water project in Igamba. Now, Mwajabu and her community of nearly 4,000 people have access to safe water close to home.
Access to safe water is building health and hope in Igamba. Mwajabu is able to return to school and the community is rejoicing.
Throughout the year, people passionate about helping kids like Mwajabu will walk to raise awareness and funds to fight the global water crisis. Visit walkforwater.com to join the Walk for Water in N. Charleston, SC, on March 25, find a Walk near you, or learn how you can organize a Walk for Water in your community! We walk, so others don’t have to.
Mwajabu’s father anticipates his family and community “will grow economically because there will be no more sickness.”
Access to safe water saves time for women and children giving them the opportunity to go to school and work outside the home. Their lives have been transformed through the provision of this basic daily need. With your support, we believe we can end the global water crisis and provide access to safe water to women and children around the world.
“We prayed a lot for clean water, because of the stomach issues,” said Pastor Iubu, of the Igamba Pentecostal Church. “We are so joyful and happy for the community’s answered prayers (for safe water).”