The global water crisis disproportionally impacts women and girls. That’s why—in honor of International Women’s Day Sunday, March 8—we’re sharing the stories of three amazing women whose lives were transformed by safe drinking water access.
In Sierra Leone, 10-year-old Mabinty enjoys attending Kulagai Rahideen Primary School. Living Water International drilled a well at her school, constructed latrines, provided a handwashing area, and created a special area for girls to attend to menstrual hygiene needs in privacy.
Before these improvements, Mabinty had to repeat a year of school because she often missed school to search for water. Although she longed to learn, she dreaded attending school because it meant walking long distances at lunch time in search of water and using the forest floor as a toilet. Now Mabinty can attend school with her basic needs for safety and privacy met, enabling her to pursue her education and a brighter future!
For Rosa in Nicaragua, picking up her daughter from the La Union community’s school often means receiving a host of new orders that fuel her small business. Rosa participated in a sanitation and hygiene promotion activity when Living Water drilled a new well in her community.
During an arts and crafts section of the activity, Rosa learned how to create hair ties, which gave her the idea to make the ties out of colorful fabric and sell them to women and girls. The hair ties became a trend at her daughter’s school, and Rosa is now able to make a good income from the business, helping to provide food for her family.
In India, Ananya used to spend hours waiting in line for water. Since water was available through government taps for only half an hour every other day, it created a spirit of competition that often escalated to verbal and physical fights. The women struggled to provide water for their families.
Ananya hated the way the water pitted women against each other and resolved to do her best to ensure a new era of peace and unity once Living Water drilled a well in her community. She was chosen by her fellow residents to serve as the community’s waterpoint caretaker. Entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining and governing the well, Arya now leads her community in an era of safe water management.
What happens to women and girls once safe water flows in their community?
They are able to collect water in safety and convenience, use it to improve their health, and reclaim control of their time. Their lives and the lives of those around them change forever.
No longer only surviving, women and girls are able to thrive. They arise. Their communities and their families rise with them, and a new day begins for everyone.