Water: It’s such a simple thing, but if you don’t have enough, it takes over your life.
That’s what 13-year-old Zinhle Dlamini told me. Getting water for her family in rural Swaziland is a two-hour-per-day chore. And the dirty water they get is not nearly enough for all the drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing for a household of 10 people.
Dudu stands with her son, Mlamuli, who is sponsored. Zinhle, in white pants, stands to the right.
Zinhle is in grade 8. She is ranked tenth in her class, but believes she could do better at school if she didn’t have to think about water all the time. Sometimes she’s late to school because of walking a long distance to get water, and her afternoons are spent getting water instead of doing homework.
Despite the challenges, she has some big dreams. “I want to be a nurse when I grow up because I want to help the sick,” says Zinhle.
She knows about being sick. The dirty water they drink has made her so sick, she’s had to go to the hospital.
The watering hole
They call it a “spring,” and that’s what I was expecting as we walked down the hill together -- but what I saw was just a small hole with water seeping up from the ground. The Dlaminis keep the hole covered with rusty, corrugated metal pieces to keep animals from contaminating it, but they still get in.
Sometimes the spring is dried up, and Zinhle has to walk a long ways to collect water from another dirty source. She is afraid to go this far alone, especially after dark, because boys have harassed her, making her spill the water.
But she’s really excited about the clean water project in her community that is going to make clean, safe water so much easier to get.
Hope is coming
This water project is a sand filtration system, which will provide purified water to 300 homesteads. The community is responsible for the construction, but World Vision provides guidance and funding.
Zinhle’s 3-year-old brother, Mlamuli, is sponsored through World Vision, and through sponsorship, clean water is coming to their community.
Dudu is their mother. “I am so happy because of the [water] project. And, I am even on the committee,” she says with a look of pride.
World Vision, with the support of the local government and community members like Dudu, is constructing a large-scale water filtration system that will filter river water and pipe it closer to the houses in the Dlamini's community. Construction on the system will be completed in July, and clean water will be usable in September after it's tested and ready to go.
The mother of nine children says that when the clean water comes, "I [am] going to bathe for the whole day and drink for the whole day!"
Want to help change the reality of contaminated water for more children and families in need?
Consider sponsoring a child in Swaziland or other country of your choice. In addition to other life-giving basics, sponsorship helps develop sustainable clean water solutions for regions where waterborne illness is a problem, like this area of rural Swaziland.
You can also make a one-time donation to our Clean Water Fund, which will help deliver interventions like deep wells, water storage containers, piping systems, sanitation equipment, and more to places where the need is great.