NOTE: This is a guest blog post by Laura Ferreiro, Communications Manager with Drop in the Bucket.
While most of us are lucky enough to have clean water flowing from our taps just steps away, many people in Africa have to travel on foot for miles for this vital resource, sacrificing time and energy they could be using going to school, caring for their families and building better lives.
The water situation is especially dire in the world’s newest country, South Sudan. As it celebrates its recent independence from neighboring Sudan, it remains one of the least developed, poorest countries in the world. People have to travel for miles to find water sources, especially in Northern Bahr El Ghazal. Unfortunately, the burden of fetching water falls mainly on girls, who take on the role of water collector for their families. They are forced to miss school or drop out entirely to spend hours a day walking and waiting in line to collect water. Drop in the Bucket is one of the only aid organizations working in this region to not only alleviate the extreme water crisis, but also to help children stay in school.
Los Angeles- and Uganda-based Drop in the Bucket is opening a compound in Northern Bahr el Ghazal to build wells at local schools, construct latrines and do vital sanitation education. In addition to providing life-giving clean water, these wells add tremendous value to the schools. In fact, we have found that when we build wells at schools, enrollment doubles or triples.
Wells add value to schools
When wells are constructed in schools, girls like 14-year-old Awyti Blass are able to attend class rather than spending hours each day traveling to and from water sources. Awyti, a 7th grader at Kendiri Primary School in South Sudan, and her sisters are responsible for collecting water for their family. Before Drop in the Bucket installed a well at their school, the girls would walk at least three miles from their village to the water source, which was a shallow, hand-dug, unprotected hole in the ground. Often they would have to leave their village at 5:00 a.m. in order to reach the water source before other villagers got there and collected all of the water. If they got there too late and the water was gone for the day, the girls would then have to walk even further, causing them to be late for school or miss it all together.
Now that there is clean water on the school compound, Awyti and her sisters can stay in class. They have more time to focus on their studies, and Awyti hopes to achieve her goal of becoming a secretary.
Photo by Deng Deng
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