For women and girls around the world, clean water changes everything

Eight years ago in a village in Mozambique, 46-year-old Tencia lost her husband to disease just before giving birth to her youngest son Elias. With her two oldest daughters already married and gone, Tencia was left to provide for three boys on her own.

She decided she could make bread to survive, but her village had no access to clean water. To get water for her baking, she had to travel to the nearest source – a river miles away. Navigating the thick grass and banana trees to get down to the river took hours of time, and climbing back up the hill with 40 pounds of water took energy. For Tencia, it meant one entire day would have to be devoted to baking and then another day would be devoted to selling bread.

Today, women and girls collect 72 per cent of the water in Sub-Saharan Africa. They spend 40 billion hours a year walking for water. But when a community gets access to clean water, women and girls can get that time back. They’re are able to start businesses, improve their homes, and take charge of their futures.

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In 2010, Tencia’s village received a brand new drilled well that brought clean water right into the center of their community. Suddenly, families weren’t limited to only the five gallons of water a day they could carry. Clean water was easy to collect and close enough that women could go as often as they wanted.

Tencia knew that the well would improve the health of her family and that collecting water would now be easier and safer. But better than that, she knew it meant big business. With the extra water, Tencia’s production expanded and she began baking and selling 40-50 loaves in a single day, doubling her profit from $89/year to more than $178. Now, Tencia isn’t just earning income for her family, she’s building a better future. Clean water has given her the chance to dream and the means to make her dream a reality.

This is the difference clean water makes.

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charity: water is on a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to every person on the planet. We believe that when a community gets access to clean water, it can change just about everything. Clean water improves health, increases access to food, ignites local economies, and help girls spend more time in school.

Since girls are primarily responsible for collecting water for their families, this often comes at the cost of their education. Some days they can finish getting water early enough to go to school, but most of the time school takes a back seat. In addition, lack of proper hygiene and sanitation results in many teenage girls having to stay home for an entire week out of every month. Access to clean water can change all of that.

With the help of more than one million supporters and incredible local partners in the field, we’ve funded water projects that will serve 8.4 million people in 26 countries with clean and safe drinking water over the past 10 years. Girls like Natalia can go to school five days a week now that their village has a clean water tap. Women like Umu can start their own hair braiding businesses now that they don’t have to spend hours collecting water. Children like Hadjara can now learn about the importance of handwashing in school to make their families healthier than ever.

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We know how to solve the water crisis in our lifetime.

During drilling season, we have teams working 29 out of 30 days each month delivering clean water to people in need. Working with local experts and community members, we’re able to find the best sustainable solutions in each country where we work, whether it’s a well, a piped system, a biosand filter, or a system for harvesting rainwater.

In 10 years, the number of people living without clean water has dropped from 1.1 billion to 663 million. We believe there are only a few times in each of our lives that we get to witness a truly historic global moment. And giving clean water to the entire planet will be one of those moments.

Our community has been able to help over 8.4 million people get clean water. But we want do more, go faster and help more people.

If you’d like to join our mission, please consider The Spring. It’s a dynamic monthly giving program made up of passionate people from 100+ countries. And 100 per cent of all donations go directly to fund projects, bringing clean water to people in need.

For more information about charity: water and how to join The Spring, visit charitywater.org/thespring.

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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