“Water has given me hope. I’m a strong woman. Thanks to World Vision and clean water, there are a lot of strong women here.”
Esperance, a Rwandan mother, hasn’t always been able to say this. As one of the 785 million people around the world without clean water access, she struggled to improve every aspect of her life.
She and her children had to spend most of the day walking long distances for dirty water. The kids weren’t doing well in their classes, since their days were taken up with these treks. She couldn’t grow food to feed her family healthy meals. Her husband didn’t respect her because she couldn’t contribute to their household income — her time was consumed by the walks for water.
So what changed? How could a simple gift of clean water close to home transform Esperance’s health, nutrition, relationships, and income — and her entire family’s?
When World Vision brought water directly into her yard, Esperance’s possibilities blossomed. One global study found when women got clean water access, nearly half spent their newly free hours in income-generating activities and entrepreneurship. Nine out of ten of these women made more money than before. Almost the same amount said their households were healthier since using the clean water source, and men’s respect for women was reported at 62% higher.
Esperance is living these statistics, and she’s wasted none of this hard-won time. She’s growing a thriving garden that’s providing her family with nutritious food. She’s selling the extra vegetables along with milk to bring in money. Every week, she puts some of her earnings into savings, and she’s learned accounting skills. Her kids are staying in school, and she and her husband work and worship together, at peace. Esperance holds her head high, smiling when she talks about the changes. “Clean water changed my life and has given me choices I didn’t have before,” she says.
What about those 785 million around the world still without clean water access? They’re walking a combined 200 million hours and an average of 6 kilometers each day. But we know that with events like the Global 6K for Water and important investments like the recent $40 million in our clean water programs, those millions will dwindle. World Vision is committed to reaching everyone, everywhere we work with clean water by 2030. In addition, we have committed to reach everyone, everywhere we work in Rwanda with clean water by 2022 - reaching about one million people. These are big goals, but they're possible.
With those 200 million hours taken back, women and children around the world will be empowered to flourish. And, most importantly, they’ll be able to say, along with Esperance, “I have dignity.”
This World Water Day, we are challenging ourselves to raise $2 million by June to provide clean water to 40,000 people like Esperance in Rwanda. Thanks to generous donors we are already over halfway to our target and every dollar donated will be matched. Will you join the challenge today?