Girl in Ethiopia collects water from a water point near her home
Tsehay carrying the jerri can of water on her back. Clean and safe water provision frees Tsehay and others in her community from waterborne diseases and long distance travel providing more time for studying, play or economic activities.

Access to clean water close to home lets girls live free from fear

Imagine today, and every day, a girl gets up and faces the threat of abduction or rape, just so she can get the water her family needs.

Then imagine that one day, she woke up knowing she could get the water and then walk to school without any fear at all – and you were the reason why.

Every day for most of Tsehay’s life, she has walked more than two hours each way to fetch drinking water from the local water hole near her home in Ethiopia. In most families, it’s a job that girls are expected to do before their school day begins. But that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy, or safe one.

Every day, the 17-year-old would wake early to collect the water, and always walk with a group of others for their combined protection. Cases of abduction and/or raped were not uncommon on her journey. Every day, she would carry those known risks along with her bucket.

Tsehay says the long journey takes its toll on girls like her, and on their education at a time when she is working hard to graduate.

“As a girl, I am responsible to fetch water for my family before going to school,” she says. “I was often late for class and would miss the first period. I used to feel exhausted and sleepy while attending class.”

It was even worse during the dry season. The closest spring water dried up, so from January to May, Tsehay walked four hours instead, gathering water from another spring. The water from both springs made them sick.

“The water from the spring was unclean and infected us with typhoid, diarrhea and amoeba,” says Tsehay. “We had to visit health centres frequently and it cost a lot of money to get medication.”

Diarrhea is the leading cause of death in Ethiopia and one in every four children under five die from it. That’s 70,000 children like Tsehay who lose their lives every year.

But sponsors have changed everything for Tsehay’s community – because their support has helped Tsehay’s community dig a new well providing children and their families with fresh, safe water!

“We no longer experience waterborne disease,” says Tsehay with a huge smile. “It takes us about 30 minutes back and forth to fetch water. We are so relieved – there is no more long distance travel, fears of rape and other threats.”

Tsehay is thrilled for even more reasons – and so are her teachers.

“I go to school on time and do not miss class as I did before. I have time to study and do assignments. My school performance has really improved since this water source was put in place.

“I am very much delighted to have this water source in our village,” she says.

There have never been more reasons to sponsor a child like Tsehay than there are right now. Sponsor a child today to give her the support and freedom to realise the future she dreams of. 

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