Why Water? Building a Future Through Education
Kirinda's Story | Chapter One
Ratifa rested against the tree and turned her face up toward the shifting light that weaved in through its branches. She closed her eyes tightly and tried once again to remember their faces. Her mother’s giant brown eyes . . . her father’s warm smile. These faint images were often the only thing that felt like home.
Ratifa was only 3 years old when her parents died of AIDS, and although she could hardly remember them, she often longed for their reassurance that everything would be okay.
With no one left to care for her, Ratifa was taken to the remote village of Kirinda to live with her grandmother. She was welcomed with open arms, but her grandmother quietly shouldered the burden of meeting her many needs. It would only be a matter of time before scarcity began to tear apart their already-vulnerable existence.
The years to follow were consumed by arduous labor and perpetual sickness. Ratifa spent hours each day hauling water from the nearest pond back to their home . . . a load that was nearly half her weight. The jerry can she filled with muddy water would soon return sickness to her home.
Stomach worms, skin diseases, and diarrhea were increasingly rampant throughout her village. Without this water, they would die; yet because of it, they struggled to live.
One hope-filled day, Ratifa learned that construction had begun on a building in the center of Kirinda . . . it was going to be a school.
In that moment, Ratifa experienced something she never had before: a vision for her future that extended far beyond the desperate conditions that consumed her existence. A teacher . . . a nurse . . . a businesswoman—suddenly, Ratifa’s mind was swirling with dreams she’d never had the courage to entertain.
Today, Ratifa is an ambitious high school student and a passionate follower of Jesus. She has overcome great odds to gain an education . . . and yet one major obstacle still remains in her way.
She misses school regularly due to water-related illnesses.
It is estimated that every year, waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera, and dysentery keep children out of school for a combined 443 million school days.
Without access to clean water, the people of Kirinda are held prisoner to a debilitating cycle of water-related illnesses and an overall lack of proper sanitation. And as a result, Karinda’s efforts to climb up out of poverty are continually stunted . . . right along with Ratifa’s dreams for her future.
But on World Water Day, we can change this.
This year, we’ve made it our goal to provide Kirinda with a comprehensive water system that will not only restore health throughout the village, but will also allow vital institutions to thrive, including a community health clinic and local school system.
Kirinda is filled with people like Ratifa . . . people who’ve suffered great loss at the unforgiving hands of poverty and disease, yet they still hold on to their dreams of seeing healing unfold in their community.
And this World Water Day, we are setting out to make that happen.