“A lot of long queues [for water] have been the order of the day,” Margret Apai, a refugee living in Uganda’s Bidi Bidi settlement, told us. When she first arrived after fleeing her home, she found that there wasn’t enough water for the settlement’s refugees, most of whom were escaping the civil war and famine in South Sudan.
Women and children were forced to walk long distances and stand in line for hours in hopes of getting water. The trek could take six hours, and some chose to walk in the middle of the night to get to the front of the line. Margret, a mother of four young children, said that the journey was especially stressful for children in the settlement.
“Children used to get lost because they were in a new place and walking for a long distance,” she said. “Some wouldn’t remember where they came from and finding their way home was a big problem.”
Thankfully, this is not a challenge for refugees in Bidi Bidi anymore — with your support, Water Mission has been providing safe water to more than 240,000 people in northern Uganda’s refugee settlements and local communities since 2014.
Margret’s challenges represent the marginalization that women, children, and refugees often experience in their search for safe water. Additionally, people in remote communities, indigenous cultures, and those with disabilities are regularly overlooked when it comes to the provision of safe water and sanitation solutions.
You are changing that. The U.N. has declared today World Water Day, a day to focus on the need for safe water around the world. This year, the theme is “Water for All: Leaving no one behind.”
The vast majority — 80 percent — of the people forced to use unsafe water sources live in rural areas that can be difficult to reach. But you’re not ignoring them. Your support of Water Mission gives us the resources to work in these isolated, hard-to-reach communities, even if just a few hundred people live there.
Your commitment is serving the people who are usually forgotten in our world — the ones who are often without the power or resources to implement solutions for their families and communities.
Children are often at the greatest disadvantage, as they frequently miss school to collect water or due to a waterborne illness. Their education — and professional dreams — can be derailed as a result, impacting their future for years to come.
You’re showing up for these children, too. When you help Water Mission install a safe water treatment system in a community, you’re also providing a convenient distribution point near the local school so that children can drink safely throughout the day. And because it takes children just minutes to collect water for their families instead of hours, you’re giving students the freedom to attend school. With safe water, children have the chance to study hard and chase their dreams.
And you’re specifically caring for people with disabilities, ensuring that they can benefit from safe water and sanitation solutions. Imagine the challenge of trying to find a clean, private, and accessible sanitation facility in an overcrowded refugee settlement like Bidi Bidi.
Your support is helping us build clean sanitation facilities for refugees throughout Bidi Bidi, along with hundreds of private household latrines designed specifically for those with disabilities. In the midst of a new country and a new life, the latrines can be a spark of hope and dignity for refugees.
This is the real impact of your support. Together, we are creating a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation solutions — a world where no one is left behind.
Thank you for helping us serve those who are too often ignored or overlooked. You are making a lasting difference in the lives of people around the world.
Give Safe Water to help us reach even more people around the world.