12-year-old Ningsih rarely took a bath, not because she was lazy, but because it was a tedious uphill trek to the closest water source on her Indonesian island of Sulawesi.
Now she can bathe whenever she wants because World Vision has brought clean water to her village!
They would leave before dawn, trekking along the well-worn track to fetch water from a hilltop spring a kilometer away. Then came the hard part: the backbreaking trudge, carrying as many as eight bottles of water each. The next day, they would go again – and they had for years.
Life is easier now thanks to a project to install a communal water tank in the village of Mangu, near the city of Palu on the K-shaped Indonesian island of Sulawesi. World Vision organized the 2013 project in cooperation with the Palu authorities.
Ningsih smiles shyly as she describes the simple joy of bathing at home. Every day after school, the 12-year-old hurries to the newly installed tank to fill her collection of plastic bottles before making the short journey home to deposit the clean water in her family’s storage facility.
Mangu is close to the sea, but much of the spring water around the village is undrinkable.
Ningsih’s mother, Lasmita, was one of many who had no choice but to make the exhausting trip before daybreak, even when pregnant.
“I had to go to the spring twice every morning to wash our clothes and bring back six to eight bottles of water,” remembers the 42-year-old without fondness.
The difficult access to clean water exacerbated the village’s lack of hygiene, with open defecation in woodland areas leading to diarrhea. Malnutrition also blighted the population.
Local participation was essential to build the tank, so World Vision hosted meetings where residents could discuss their problems in accessing clean water and select where the tank would be placed, which was finally decided after inviting a geological expert to offer advice.
The project took time and effort, but it has helped Mangu’s population have better lives. With convenient access to clean water, their health has improved and they can bathe and brush their teeth regularly.
Ningsih will go to middle school soon, and she dreams of being a mathematics teacher. With a healthier environment in which to live, she now believes that her dream will come true.
One of the best ways to help better the lives of a child, a family, a village is through sponsorship, the foundation of our community development. Choose a child – and community – to care for today!
Or give directly to our efforts to provide clean water to those who don't have access.