Everything changes with clean water

Could you swim to support WaterAid and help bring clean water to deprived communities?

When communities get clean water for the first time there’s a tremendous sense of joy. They know that from now on there’s a chance for children to stay in school and get an education, for families to make a decent living, and for the whole community to lift themselves out of poverty. Friends Hilda and Gifty live in the Akamo Community, Ghana. Find out how WaterAid could help bring clean water to their community and give them healthier and happier lives.

Gifty, 16

“The water point is far away from the school. By the time we get back from collecting water, the lesson has finished, so we have to catch up with our friends. We take it in turns to collect water so none of us will miss too much school. Sometimes when we’ve used up the water we’ve collected, we get thirsty in class and don’t feel well. We can’t concentrate on the teaching and feel weak. I wish we had water nearby. It would be good to have water closer to the school as it would improve our learning and concentration.

“We go to the bush when we need the toilet; it’s very dirty. Boys and girls go to the same place, which isn’t good. We avoid the boys and sometimes wait until they have left before we remove our clothes as we feel shy and don’t want the boys to see us. We sometimes see snakes when going for open defecation, which is scary, so we have to run away as we don’t want to get hurt.

“I don’t come to school when I am on my period because I feel pains and it is too difficult to change pads at school – where would I do it? There are no toilets so I stay at home for 4 days. I feel sad about missing school. I miss so many classes, sometimes I don’t understand what they are talking about when I return and it takes a long time to catch up. I don’t feel happy about the situation as it affects my education.

“I want to be a doctor; to do that I have to work hard and do well at school, so it is not good for me to miss class. My favourite subject is Science. If we had water nearby, I think my education would improve and I would do better at school.

“I don’t have water in my home either. At home, I collect water twice in the morning, around 5:30am, and three times in the evening after school. Sometimes I’m late for school if I don’t get up early enough and there’s a long queue at the borehole. I think I would have a better education if we had water and toilets.”

Hilda, 17

“We are often thirsty at school, but the borehole is far away and there is usually a queue, so often we wait till breaktime to collect water. We take it in turns to collect water to avoid missing too many classes.

“We have to go to the toilet outside in the bush as there are no toilets at school. I don’t like it when people walk past us when we’re going to the toilet and have removed our clothes – I feel shy. We should have privacy.

“I enjoy school but I don’t come to school during my period. I miss school for around 4 days every month as it’s too difficult to change my pads at school – it’s not clean and I don’t want people to see me. I don’t feel good about missing school as it is very important to me and a good education is necessary for my future. I want to be a bank manager; my favourite subject is Maths.

“If we got water and toilets in our school, it would be a big change for us; I think I would perform better at school and would have a better future.”

Find out more about the 2023 WaterAid Swim Marathon and Half Marathon challenges.

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