It’s the middle of the night. Your child wakes you up to tell you she’s thirsty. What do you do? Most likely you stumble to the kitchen, turn on the tap, and fill up a cup. Too often, we take our ability to easily meet our basic needs for granted.
Eunice, a mother in eastern Zambia, doesn’t.
She still remembers getting up at 2 a.m. every morning to line up in the dark at her local open well. If she overslept, there wouldn’t be water left to bring home to her children. The worst part about this arduous chore? The water she and her neighbors competed for wasn’t even clean. It made her children sick. It made their friends sick. But it was the only water they had.
Eunice is not alone in her daily quest to find clean water for her family. Only 44 percent of rural Zambians have access to basic safe drinking water services. Only 19 percent have basic sanitation (toilet) facilities. And only 5 percent have easy access to soap and water to wash their hands.
This lack of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) resources is the leading cause of death for young children in sub-Saharan Africa, because it causes diseases like cholera and diarrhea. Poor sanitation is also partly to blame for Zambia’s high child stunting (impeded growth and development) rates. And the lack of WASH facilities in schools keeps students, especially girls, from attending, leading to more teen pregnancies, earlier marriages and limited access to quality jobs.
Health, education, employment—clean water affects every area of life.
That’s why Cross International supports partner organizations like the Kachere Development Program, a church-based ministry that installs community water systems, trains female entrepreneurs, and distributes Bibles in local languages.
Thanks to Cross International donors’ generosity, Eunice’s village now has a working well with clean, drinkable water.
She no longer has to get up in the middle of the night to fetch water. She doesn’t have to give her children dirty water to keep them alive today that would only make them sick tomorrow.
In light of this gift, Eunice gave back, too. She joined her local V-WASH (Village Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Committee to help maintain the well and teach her community healthy WASH practices. They also gather to study the Bible and give thanks to God, the Source of both clean water and “living water.”
Because of the generous gifts of believers like you, Eunice’s children—and the children of her entire village— are growing up healthy, hopeful, learning and loved. Can you help us share God’s love with more children like Eunice’s? We’re raising $515,000 to reach 15,000 children and their family members this holiday season.
Sources: “Water, Sanitation and Hygiene,” Unicef. Accessed 12 November 2019.