Take a look around you. How far is the nearest sink, fountain or water bottle? In all likelihood, you’re probably just a few steps away from clean water. However, in many developing countries, the nearest source of water can be kilometres away, and even then, the water isn’t always safe to drink.
In communities with limited or no access to water, the burden of collecting it falls disproportionately on girls and women. On average, they can spend 25% of their day – or up to 6 hours – fetching water for their families.
[SEE ALSO: How water impacts the lives of girls]
For girls, like 9-year-old Ludivina from Timor-Leste, this responsibility can affect their education and put their safety at risk. Follow Ludivina’s journey as she shows us the impact that water has on her life.
A long walk for water
Ludivina’s trek for water begins in the early morning, before school. As the eldest child in her family, she’s also responsible for looking after her two siblings, so she often brings them with her.
Every day they walk through wild bush, cross grassy fields, and climb down a steep and rocky hill to reach a shallow stream. The descent is difficult and dangerous – the scariest part of their journey, confesses Ludivina.
The weight of water
After searching for the cleanest section of the stream, Ludivina fills two 5L bottles with water. With the weight of these heavy bottles, the walk home is slower and exhausting for all three children.
The entire journey takes over an hour and by the time Ludivina and her siblings get home, they’re tired, but now they have to get ready for school. “After I collect the water, I have to go to school, but I feel tired in the classroom,” says Ludivina.
Lifting the burden
Collecting water can take hours out of a girl’s day – time that could be spent at school, studying or playing. Safe access to clean water is everybody’s right, and Plan International’s water and sanitation projects around the world are helping families access water close to home.
In Ludivina’s small village, Plan International helped install a water pump which has made a positive impact on her life and her entire community. “When I heard that I don’t have to collect water because of the water pump, I was so happy!” she says. “Now I have time to play with my friends, go to school and sing!”
[SEE ALSO: The weight of water: lightening Miranda’s burden]
The gift of water
When safe and clean drinking water is within a community’s reach, the lives of girls, like Ludivina, are transformed! Help more communities access clean water – give Plan International Canada’s Gift of Hope and provide clean water to families!