Irene and her daughter

Clean Water and a Small Business in Africa

Shallow Wells and Waterborne Disease

Ireen is a young mom who lives in western Zambia with her pre-school age daughter. Her only source of income is farming. Though she dreamed of starting her own small business in Africa, and building a better life for the two of them, Ireen had something holding her back—lack of clean water. Every day, Ireen spent lots of time walking long distances to retrieve water from shallow wells. Making matters worse, the water was unclean and, in combination with lack of proper sanitation and hygiene, caused Ireen and her daughter to suffer with waterborne diseases. Struggling with sickness and laboring long hours to retrieve water, Ireen was only able to provide one meal a day for herself and her daughter.

Escaping Poverty in Africa

Despite her difficult situation, Ireen was determined to break free from the cycle of poverty in Africa. Dreaming of starting her own business, she reached out to Cross International’s partner in Zambia, the Kachere Development Program (KDP). She learned that KDP was running a self-help group for women in her area to help them become small business entrepreneurs. Ireen joined the group, but her struggles with clean water made it difficult to attend the meetings regularly.

Thanks to Cross International supporters, KDP staff saw Ireen’s troubles and knew how to help her escape poverty in Africa. A local water, sanitation, and hygiene committee was formed and Ireen was named its secretary. A new community well was soon under construction along with efforts to improve hygiene and sanitation in the community.

Ireen celebrating with other women in the Kamiza Village
Ireen celebrating with other women in the Kamiza Village

Clean Water Brings Hope

Since the well was completed, Ireen’s life has greatly improved. With access to clean, safe water, and knowledge of proper hygiene and sanitation, Ireen and her daughter’s health has improved. And, instead of spending time fetching water, Ireen is able to work on starting her own business. Just six months later, Ireen was finally able to provide three meals per day for her family.

Ireen is also growing in her faith and attending church and Bible study. She is so grateful for the help she’s received!

Thank you for blessing Ireen, and so many others, through your support of Cross International. Your generosity truly has the power to transform lives.

If you want to help other women like Ireen, and support the construction of water wells, hygiene education, community transformation initiatives in African communities, and to work towards breaking the cycle of poverty, please visit this page.


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