Joyce Musembi, a mother of six, has been able to turn her life around thanks to Just a Drop’s support. Joyce is from Kenya, a country which has been affected by devastating droughts in recent years, causing many people to abandon their homes and take their children out of school in the search of food and water. Joyce is from Makueni County – an arid area severely affected by droughts – and together with Just a Drop, her community helped to construct a new, local water system.
The 40 year old now uses her new water source to make bricks and earn an income. She says, “I recently won a tender to sell my bricks to the nearby school. The money I get I use for buying food and paying school fees. Sometimes, when the returns are good, I can buy a goat!”
In Uganda, incidences of children being attacked, raped or kidnapped on their way to school – or whilst walking long distances to fetch water – are increasing at an alarming rate. Mutilated bodies have been discovered at roadsides, by swamps, in fields; a result of an apparently growing belief in the power of human sacrifice to yield better health and wealth.
Florence Kyosimwe’s young son disappeared in 2011 whilst collecting water from a local swamp. He hasn’t been seen since, leaving her community consumed by fear. She says, “My son was kidnapped early one morning in the sugar plantation, on his way to collect water. Announcements ran on the radio for six months but he was not found.”
Just a Drop is working hard to bring clean, safer water to children in Uganda, thereby helping to reduce this cruel, intolerable and tragic abuse of vulnerable lives.
Rajam is a housemaid and lives with her children and her 80 year old mother in a tribal community in Tamil Nadu, India – a poor region with no formal sanitation, where people survive on meagre wages and whatever food they can produce for themselves.
Rajam’s family suffered recurring bouts of diarrhoea caused by this dire lack of hygiene, but worse, being forced to relieve themselves in open spaces led to feelings of fear and indecency: “I was so ashamed,” says Rajam’s mother. “I hated that others would see my most private business and laugh at me.”
Just a Drop constructed a communal bath house, toilet and water supply for the community. Rajam says, “Now my home is more hygienic – there are no longer flies everywhere. My mother was happiest of all because now she can visit the toilet with dignity.”
28 year old Jacqueline, a mother of three, lives in Kayabwe Village, Uganda, where villagers survive on less than $1 per day. The main sources of water are dirty and unsafe open wells, which are shared with animals.
Over 35% of the people in this community use these contaminated sources and consequently many suffer from water-related diseases which are expensive to treat with medicine. Furthermore, women and their children can spend over two hours a day collecting water, which has an impact on income generation and education.
Just a Drop is working to provide the community with water and sanitation facilities, but there is still a lot of work to be done…
Mother of seven Agnes – like so many others – travelled 9km to collect water from the Kwa Kanangi spring in Kenya – despite the fact that the journey was challenging, the spring area unsafe for women and the water itself unsafe.
In 2013, Agnes caught typhoid and had to spend 1,500 Kenyan shillings (KES) on getting the appropriate medication. Although incredibly ill, she had to continue working as she could not afford to pay her employer the daily 200 KES ‘absentee’ fine. Completely penniless, Agnes even had to resort to selling one of the family’s two cows to pay her children’s school fees.
Now that Just a Drop’s rock catchment project is up and running, Agnes’ life has drastically improved – her walk for water takes just ten minutes. Agnes worries less about medical bills and is also able to make a small profit from selling water.