August 18, 2011

Why Clean Water for Africa

by Pete Brach

Why is providing clean water so important and why Africa? First and foremost,
water with pathogens kills 4,900 African children per day. This translates into
more than one child per minute! This is a travesty considering that clean water
for the people of Africa significantly improves health conditions, combats hunger,
increases educational opportunities for allows girls to go to school, frees up
time for women to establish small businesses and cumulatively improves the
economy.

It is astonishing that one third of Africa’s population has no access to clean
water. Almost two-thirds have no access to proper sanitation. The result:
widespread suffering from malaria, typhoid, dysentery, diarrhea and other
diseases. Using global statistics as a benchmark, the occupation of an estimated
50% of all hospital beds in Africa results from waterborne diseases!

Women and girls in Niger, West Africa break their backs walking miles a day to
fetch water, water so dirty that no one living in a developed nation would dream
of giving it to their children. For these women, their only choice is to give their
very young water that may be contaminated and pray they survive!
Grim statistics state that one out of four of their children will not live to see their
5th birthday. 40% of the population has trachoma which, when left untreated,
leads to blindness. Some will be victims of guinea worm – an extremely painful
condition; a worm, sometimes several feet long, lives under the skin.

Wells Bring Hope!

A quote from our President, Barbara Goldberg: “…in some small villages in Niger
there is hope. Drill a well 300 feet into the ground and lives are transformed
instantly.” When a clean water well is drilled in a village in West Africa,
tremendous joy abounds. They see it as a miracle and hope for their future. You
can see it in the video on our Home page.

Some quotes from that video

“When we started pumping water, the chief of the community, he is eighty years
old…when he saw water coming out from that pump, he started crying. He was
saying that he could not imagine in his life that one day his village would get
clean water like this.”

“Everything will be alright now that we have got good water. We won’t be sick.
Our children won’t die.” (From a woman who lost 11 out of 12 children from
contaminated water.)

“Now we are so happy, it cut out more than half our work.”

“Now we don’t have to ask our men for money.”

“In Africa people say that to educate a girl is to educate a whole nation.”

A donation of $30 provides one child in Niger, West Africa access to a
clean water for 30+ years!


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