Why Attacking Poverty Starts With Water
Kirinda's Story | Chapter Two
Silvano is a bright 15 year old, quick to engage you in conversation or lend a hand. He does well in school, is an all-star soccer player, and a loving older brother. To the unknowing observer, he is a regular teenager making the transition into adulthood. But Silvano, like many of his friends in Kirinda, Uganda, is faced with an impossible obstacle.
For unknown reasons, Silvano’s father committed suicide when he was a young child—a wound that never seems to heal for their family. But they know, without saying, poverty was a cord in the noose.
And conceivably, the cycle of dirty water embodies that figurative noose.
Silvano was enrolled in our Child Sponsorship Program after his father’s death and has since shined in his academic development.
Over the years, his sponsorship journey has reflected an intelligent, kind, athletic, hard working, responsible child. The same theme seems to jump off the page with every new yearly update: talent, ability, promise.
But back in Kirinda, potential is stunted, and poverty is the norm.
“Whenever I come back to Kirinda to visit my mother, my siblings and I are forced to use this dirty, red-like water full of waterborne diseases,” Silvano told us.
This is the same water that has made his village a slave to poverty for decades—crippling health and livelihoods, thwarting development as a whole.
“There is one borehole in the community and everybody goes there. You will find may children in long lines spending most of the time waiting for water,” he said.
It has not only afflicted his generation, but his mother’s generation, and those before . . . costing them thousands of school hours—either spent being sick or carrying heavy jerry cans filled with toxic water.
In the region of Kirinda, you cannot separate poverty and the effects of dirty water. New generations of children continue to shine bright with potential . . . but without clean water in their communities, they will always face the monstrous hurdle of poverty.
The verdict is inescapable: Dirty water causes poverty.
According to a 2006 United Nations Displaced People report, “Lack of water, sanitation, and hygiene costs sub-Saharan African countries more in lost GDP than the entire continent gets in development aid.”
Too many children feel the push and pull between actualizing their potential and surviving the cycle of dirty water. Until a community experiences the physical, mental, economic, and social well-being of a reliable source of pure water . . . the noose remains.
But this World Water Day, we can provide the transformational alternative together. By building a clean-water well, piping system, and holding tank, Kirinda can finally begin to thrive.
For every $1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of at least $4 is returned in increased productivity. – World Health Organization, 2012
Clean water for Kirinda means less heartache, sickness, and poverty . . . and more health, opportunity, stability, and development.
Together, we can be a part of this solution.
Silvano will turn 16 in June. With clean water, he can live out his education and potential. He and his siblings can escape the tragic fate of his father’s generation. And extreme poverty will become only a memory for the people of Kirinda.