In the Delta region of Myanmar, accessing clean safe drinking water is one of the biggest challenges faced by communities. The area is so close to the sea, that almost all the rivers and creeks are contaminated with salty water. Thanks to child sponsorship, we have been working with families in the district of Pathein West to instal fresh safe water. Look at the photos below to see the difference that something as simple as clean water is making to women and children in Myanmar.
This is Naw Judi. She lives with her three children and elderly parents in Myanmar’s Pathein West district. Her husband is trying to earn money for the family by working as a labourer in Thailand, leaving her to look after her parents and children alone. Life is tough, but by using child sponsorship funds to help Naw Judi’s community install a pipeline from a neighbouring tube well to her village, we have helped change that. Because child sponsorship doesn’t just help one child, it helps transform the lives of their whole community.
The pipe now runs to each of the 56 homes in their village, giving families access to clean, safe drinking water.
A better quality of life
Naw Judi told us, “Thanks to ActionAid we now have a tap right outside our home. I can’t believe I will no longer have to worry about my family getting ill from Cholera or the water running dry in my village.” She now has enough clean water not just to drink, but to wash and cook with too, reducing the risk of them getting ill and improving the health and hygiene of her whole famliy.
More time for her children
“Before ActionAid started working in our village, I had to walk to the nearby village to collect water. I don’t have a push-cart, so my children would help me carry the water home. My children are so happy they no longer have to do this. I am happy too, as a mother it is hard to see your children work so hard.”
The time Naw Judi saves from no longer having to fetching water means she has more time to spend with her children, enjoy family meals and most importantly, help them do their homework - giving them a better chance of doing well in school and beyond.
More time for community life
Having such easy access to water also means families like Naw Judi’s have more time to care for their livestock and crops, and become involved in community life. “Now we have enough water for our farm animals and home gardens as well”, Naw Judi explained. “It is amazing for all of us to get running water at home.”
Naw Judi sees real value and importance in growing her community and is a keen member of a number of local groups, many established by ActionAid. She is an accountant in her local Women’s Self Help Group, where women meet regularly to discuss any issues they might have and work on solutions together. She is also a teacher at the village Early Childhood Care and Development Centre. Read more about how ActionAid child sponsorship is supporting children’s education in this photo blog.
Ensuring long term change
This water project hasn’t just been a quick fix; we have worked with the community to ensure its long term sustainability. Each family pays a monthly fee of 3,000 mmk (£1.75) to cover the cost of maintaining the water pump and fuel. This fee is collected by a nominated member of the community. Others have received training in maintaining the system, ensuring its viability for years to come.
This project has helped the community build their resilience against future droughts. Through child sponsorship we plan to replicate this work in other villages right across Pathein West district – giving communities control of their natural resources.
Thank you for joining us on this journey. Together we are making a difference.
If you don’t already sponsor a child but have been inspired by Naw Judi’s story then please consider becoming a child sponsor today. It’s such an amazing thing to do, because you won’t just be helping change the life one child - you’ll be helping their whole community too.
Photos: Saw Nay Htoo/Kyaw Kyaw Linn/ActionAid