Stories by Water.org
Aisyah is Smart
Aisyah is a wife, a mother, and a farmer. Most critical to all of her roles is time. “Time to work my rice fields means more money I can make for my family; our life is better," Aisyah explained.
As a smart business woman growing one of Indonesia’s most desired crops, Aisyah recognized lack of access to water at home as the main obstacle keeping her from having the time needed to farm.
Until recently, a typical day for Aisyah included waking before sunrise to walk a few kilometers, all for the purposes of collecting water. Her options varied – a river, a community pump or her neighbors bore well – none reliable. After several back-and-forth trips to collect enough water for her family’s needs, finally a tired and often frustrated, Aisyah made her way to the rice field.
It is for people like Aisyah that we support Water.org. They connect families to affordable financing, empowering them to install water connections and toilets at home. A smart solution for a smart businesswoman, Aisyah knew water at home meant more time to produce a larger harvest. With these benefits in view, she confidently approached taking a small, affordable loan to construct her very own water tap.
Now, with help from Water.org, the financial obstacle between Aisyah and time to work has been removed. And now, as we have seen for millions of others, Aisyah continues to change her world.
Water.org’s work around the world includes removing the financial barriers that separate women like Edita from access to safe water. She seems unassuming; however, upon conversation with Edita one will discover the quiet confidence that drove her to bring her family to a place where they could access both good schools and running water.
Edita and her husband started their family in a small village deep in the Andes Mountains. Together with their children, they lived a difficult life. Each day held the need for long walks for water and laborious domestic chores. There were no nearby schools. Edita believed that somewhere, somehow, a better life awaited her family.
With hope and determination, Edita and her husband moved their family to Concepcion Village. Comprised of mostly indigenous Incan people, who largely speak the ancient language of Q’eqchi’, the family felt right at home speaking their native language, among their people. Of even greater benefit – the community offered schools and running water. So close to achieving what they wanted for their new life, next was to find a way to establish a water connection in their home. They didn’t have to look far.
Water.org’s work around the world includes removing the financial barriers that separate the people in need in Concepcion Village from accessing the municipal water lines running just under their feet.
Goal in reach, it was only a few short weeks before Edita turned the knob on her very own tap. And within a few short months, she and her husband will repay their loan with money earned from farm work available to them in Concepcion.
It was with hope and determination Edita moved her family to a better home, and it is with access to safe water she is more empowered than ever to change their world.
We support Water.org to help empower women like Edita to change their own world.
Her smile is truly as warm as the herbal tea she prepares each morning to sell from her humble home in Mysore. Past the mint and chamomile drying in the window, one can see Nanda’s husband feeding and watering their dairy cow. Days didn’t always start like this for the couple. For years, this time of day was spent focused on collecting water.
Like the other women in her village, Nanda rose before the sun to collect water for her family. After multiple trips back-and-forth to a distant community well, she eventually had enough water for meals, baths, and laundry. These hours Nanda spent to get water could have been used differently - she could have been selling tea and earning money for her family. After all, to attend school in their village required the purchase of uniforms and books. With only her husband’s income, the couple could hardly afford such items to send all of their children to school.
It is for her time, for her children’s educations, and for the family’s future, that we support Water.org. They make small, affordable loans possible for people to finance their own water and sanitation solutions, empowering people who otherwise couldn’t to build a tap or toilet.
Now a water tap stands only a few feet from Nanda’s door, near her garden bed where her herbs grow. Though she was unable to offer her children safe water throughout their childhoods, Nanda smiles today. She smiles because her income selling tea affords her grandchildren the opportunity to go to school. This is why we support Water.org to help women like Nanda make life better for herself and those around her.
Sabina is Bold
This is Sabina. She’s a farmer, a single mom, and the primary caregiver to her elderly mother. She approaches her days with bold wisdom, keen resourcefulness and a dedication to hard work.
Days used to start early for Sabina. Without any other option, every morning required a long walk to collect water needed for breakfast, bathing, and cleaning - usually from a distant, unsafe natural source. There were only a few occasions on which Sabina purchased water from a vendor. She valued the time saved by just purchasing water, but for her it was unwise and financially unfeasible to do this regularly. Thus, pond water was the family’s primary option.
Sabina’s home and small farm are located in a rural village outside Nairobi, Kenya. Two long rainy seasons benefit Sabina’s crops; however, it wasn’t until recently that she could take advantage of the abundant precipitation.
Water.org made possible in Kenya what, to a resourceful woman like Sabina, seemed an ideal solution. With their help, Sabina financed a rain catchment system. During and after the rains, Sabina can store enough water for her home and crops. This frees her from time spent collecting water. And, her well-fed plants earn her money, some of which she used to repay her loan.
Sabina approaches her days with the same boldness as before, but now she has more say over her mornings. What she does with that time is her choice, and this is why we support Water.org to empower other women like Sabina.
Elma Is Courageous
Elma is courageous. You see, Elma and her husband have never been able to break free from the cycle of poverty. Despite their circumstances, Elma did her best to make a home for her family in a dirt-floor hut in rural Philippines. Made of bamboo and tarps, the dwelling never lacked love, but did lack safe water and a toilet. Elma was unsure how she and her husband could ever afford these things for their home, but she knew having a tap and a bathroom would make life better for their children.
A thirty minute trek from their village, Elma’s children walk to school every day. But before this, they used to make another trek - one to collect water. For many years, Elma tried to do this back-breaking chore alone. But, to carry enough water for all seven family members, eventually, she needed the kids’ help. Elma held back her tears and chose to smile as she shared, “My kids, they never complained about getting up so early to go with me to get water.” Yet regardless of whether or not they verbally complained, Elma knew it was not the life they wanted, nor the one she wanted for them.
“My husband drives a moto-taxi and I sell fish. We can only give our children very little, but we wanted to make sure they have water and a toilet. My girls aren’t safe going in the fields and my kids should not wake so early to carry water.” Thus Elma’s courageous fight to break her family free from the cycle of poverty and their long walks for water began.
Through their work in the Philippines, Water.org had already begun to pave the way to Elma’s victory by making small, affordable loans possible for families to construct household water connections and toilets. A brave Elma was able to secure the funds to give her family what they needed most.
Now the long morning walks to collect water have ended. And the unsafe nightly visits to the field are over. This time, an empowered Elma let herself cry tears of joy as she shared, “With God’s grace, I have already repaid my toilet loan, and very soon, we will pay off our water connection loan as well.”
We are supporting Water.org to help pave the way for more women like Elma to champion safe water for their families and change their world.
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