Why water changes everything

Water and sanitationBrazil

After five long years of extreme droughts, a remote, rural community in Brazil was struggling to access clean water. The Government provided water through a car drop-off scheme, but it was irregular. People in some parts of the community were left without water for up to 30 days at a time.

With the nearest water source miles away, women and children were forced to travel each day to collect water for their families. Even then, the water – the only source they could reach – was unsafe to drink. The routes were long and dangerous, and the water unclean. This left people unwell, suffering from diarrhea and other illnesses that can be deadly for children.

Damiana has lived here since she was a child. She remembers carrying water on her head for over an hour and a half each day, even when she was pregnant. Both her young daughters now make this same journey too.

‘I also had water on my head for 40 minutes, twice, three times a day,’ says Marissa* (13), Damiana’s daughter. ‘Often, I had to hurry to not miss school and I would not have time for food.’ Her younger sister, Flavia* (11) has kidney problems, so carries less water than her mother and sister.

Let every voice be heard
Access to clean and safe water has the power to transform the lives of people living in poverty. An estimated 844 million people around the world don’t have this basic necessity. But for any new water and sanitation scheme to succeed long term, it needs to be ‘owned’ by the community itself and not just provided for them, with no involvement or consultation.

Tearfund’s local partner, the Evangelical Action Church (ACEV), looked at options for how they could help families like Damiana's to access clean water. They held meetings with local leaders, pastors, health workers and members of the community to make sure everyone’s voice was heard.

A decision was made to drill a well and the community helped locate a site to make sure it was accessible to everyone. The well was then drilled and now provides them with safe, clean water.

More time to do the things we love
‘The well has changed my life because I do not have to fetch water. I have more time to study and I go to school less worried,’ Marissa says. Her sister, Flavia adds: ‘God is good and wonderful, now I have more time to study and I do not worry about going to school hungry.’

Their father, Damião is pleased by the impact that this well will have. ‘This was one of the greatest gifts for the community that I have ever seen,’ he says, ‘it was our greatest need.’

PLEASE PRAY

  • Thank God that Marissa, Flavia and other children in this community no longer have to make long journeys to collect water. Pray a blessing over their futures.
  • Pray for wisdom for our partners who are working with communities to help them improve their access to safe drinking water.
  • Lift up the 844 million people who still have no access to safe water. Pray they will be kept safe from illness and disease and for swift solutions to be found, so that they can overcome poverty.

Nearly 1,000 children under the age of five die every day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation, and improper hygiene. Be part of the solution. Your gift can help lift even more communities out of poverty by providing them with access to clean water.

*Names have been changed to protect identities