Water first, the school later

Water covers two-thirds of our earth, and there is more than enough water for every person on our planet. Yet, there is an increasing shortage of clean drinking water, and over 1 billion people are impacted and suffering because of it – this suffering often affects our most vulnerable, children.

Globally, 31% of schools lack adequate access to clean water, which means that every day, the burden of retrieving safe waterfalls on the young children who attend. Even before the school day begins, young boys and girls have no other choice but to walk around 10 kilometres to collect water. To us, travelling that distance for water would be extreme, but for these children, it’s a routine. It’s like the water cycle of hope with a strong belief that soon it will get better. This daily water walk causes children to miss classes, and leaves them too exhausted to study and reach their academic potential. This also inflicts physical damage on the boys and girls who are forced to carry jerry cans weighing between 20kg and 40kg. Would you let your children carry this weight daily? Such weight is considered to be heavy for an average adult. This suffering saps from the joy of childhood, replacing childlike wonder with pain, exhaustion, and fatigue.

This isn’t safe, it isn’t healthy, and it should not be normal. As long as stand by, children will continue to suffer the endless march for water, with their only alternative preventable and potentially harmful diseases. Water is not a luxury, and no child should suffer while we can help. Water is a fundamental human right for everyone, and you can help to make that right a reality.

Clean water is used for more than drinking; it allows for sanitary conditions to keep clean and healthy. Over 1/3rd of schools lack access to clean water for sanitation, and this contributes to over 443 million school days lost each year because of preventable water-related diseases. Additionally, lack of clean water leaves girls unable to remain sanitary during their menstrual cycle – many are forced to stay at home, missing out on valuable education. Some of these girls are forced to drop out of school because sanitation needs cannot be met.

Children are our future, and they will change the world, but what kind of world will be created if they are denied their education? 1/3rd of schools lacking clean water is not acceptable, and children missing school because of these water shortages should be unimaginable. Yet this is the grave reality of the crisis. With every child whose education is ended due to the water challenge, we lose a potential doctor, scientist, or leader. With every child that is forced to miss lessons, or left too exhausted to study, we leave the future generations less literate and less equipped to thrive in the modern world.

For us, abundance and convenience are often guaranteed. Thirsty? You’re probably a few steps away from a sink or store, able to source clean water with minimal effort. In our lives, water is a constant that’s almost impossible to imagine lacking. But for many, clean water is a luxury, and time is running out. Shortages of clean water are on the rise, and the number of children affected will only increase. Today, we are facing a global crisis that can only be averted with immediate support. Thankfully, you can help. Together, we can assist communities without clean water and keep children in education. We can help prevent water-based diseases that cause children to miss school days and establish more fundraising ideas in schools. We can stop children walking for water kilometre after kilometre. You can help end this cycle of suffering, and work towards a future where all children and schools have access to clean, safe, and nearby water.

All of our words mean nothing without your help. Actions speak louder than words ever could. Together, with your help, we can help provide water to the school and increase schools fundraising in marginalised areas. Join us by supporting our cause and build sustainable futures, dreams and communities!

Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss a possible project or learn more about our  work.
Ingenuity Lab, Ingenuity Centre
University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2TU
EMAIL: tabitha.wacera@sustainablewaterswp.com