Dear Global Neighbour
We are now only a few weeks away from Christmas, but I, like many parents, have been hearing about Christmas in my house for the last three months. Over this time, my children have shown me many versions of their Christmas wish list to Santa after intently studying the latest toy catalogues. There is a whole range of things, from Lego fire stations to a play kitchen and every toy and gadget in between. But one item that is not on their lists is clean water. I would be surprised if clean water was on the wish list of any child in the UK. For my children, and others in Britain, access to clean water is something that they never need to think about: they just go to the tap and turn it on, never having to ask the question: is it clean?
However, there are many millions of children throughout the world who do have to think about water daily. They ask questions such as, “How long will it take to collect the water today? Will I be ill again from drinking this water? What choice do I have, it is this water or no water?” Nobody should have to consider these questions but sadly for many throughout the world these are questions they are having to ask each day. Shockingly 1 in 3 people globally do not have access to safe drinking water, that is 2.2 billion people. There are many people in Uganda, one of the countries we work in, where having access to clean water is unimaginable. At Signpost International we believe every man, woman, and child should have access to safe and clean water, we therefore work to ensure all the communities we walk alongside have access to this.
One person who knows what it is like not to have access to clean water is Odubi. Odubi lives in Athele, Nebbi district, North-Western Uganda and this is his story.
(Odubi at a meeting about a clean water source.)
“I was born in this village 64 years ago and we have always used a stream as our source of water. It is an open stream shared with the animals. The children play in it, the animals step in it, and when it rains heavily the water mixes up with the mud. Many times I would look at the water source our community was using and my heart would ache but it was the only water source we had, leaving us with no other alternative.
For a very long-time diarrhoea and dysentery were common illnesses in our community because of the water we used. The government had attempted twice to drill a borehole [a narrow reinforced deep well with a protected outlet] but we were always told after hydrological surveys there was no water source available. We had resigned our fate to God.”
“Having a borehole in Athele village was far from our dreams.”
“Signpost International then began to work with us and we learnt they had discovered a site for a water source in the village, only 100m from the school. There was excitement in the whole community, we could not believe that we were about to have a borehole in our village.”
“At 64 years of age I had never used a borehole nor ever tasted water from a borehole.”
“Signpost [and local partner Action for Rural Women’s Empowerment] installed a borehole in our community allowing me to drink borehole water for the first time, it was very clear and tasted great!”
“This project is God sent because I never thought I would be using water from a borehole in my house. On behalf of my community I am so grateful for this life changing opportunity.”
(The community of Athele next to their new water borehole.)
Nobody should have to wait 64 years to taste clean water. We want to make sure all people have access to a safe and clean water source which can have a lifechanging impact on people’s health. This in turn reduces expenditure on medical treatments, increases income earning and time spent in school, while improving concentration and pupil grades all of which combine to build better futures for all. But in order that we can keep installing clean water sources in communities we need your support.
Can you support our Christmas appeal and give the gift of clean water this Christmas?
Thank you and I pray that you have a blessed Christmas.
CEO, Signpost International