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World Water Day: The Story of Chifenthe Preschool (Part 2)


A note from Jake Smith, our Executive Director:

“In the midst of our current global COVID-19 crisis, I pray you and your loved ones are well and holding onto peace and hope in the midst of chaos and fear.

We are grateful for the Blood:Water community in this time and how we can not only lift each other up, but our friends in Africa as well. We’ve all learned that the importance of things as simple as hand-washing can have a profound effect on people across the world. The need for everyone to have access to proper sanitation and hygiene is something we will continue to fight for.

I invite you to take a moment to read the story below, and as you wash your hands throughout the day today, let it remind you to celebrate the work you are helping to accomplish, and the fact that there is always hope for tomorrow.”

The Importance of New Latrines
Sweeping around the new, double-door VIP toilets, one of the caregivers at Chifenthe’s preschool explains, If a new toilet was built at this school in previous years, my body would not look like this now.”

The old structure is completely dilapidated, causing the children to be afraid of the large cracks and damage. This led to them using the latrine with haste, so she used to have to clean excrement from around the latrine every day, which in turn affected her own health over time.

A Day to Celebrate
With World Water Day coming up this Sunday, March 22, we wanted to share a story of the water and sanitation work our partner COPRED has done to significantly change the lives of those affected by the clean water crisis.

Woman from the chifenthe village holds her baby and stands with a bucket on her head in front of the stream where she used to collect her water before the installation of the new water well in her village

The rural Chikalema village in the Neno district of Malawi is distant from any major city center, causing it to be overlooked, and resulting in inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. At the Chifenthe preschool (located in Chikalema), attendance had dropped to 50% because parents were afraid that a major disease outbreak was imminent due to a lack of sanitary and hygienic conditions at the school. 

young african girl stands next to the clean water well pumping water into her jerrycan

Promoting Health for the Entire Community
Before our partner, COPRED, installed the brand new toilets, the caregiver started having trouble eating from the loss of appetite that her daily cleaning caused every day.

If not for her love of the children, she wouldn’t have sacrificed her own health. However, because of the new latrines, she says she is getting back to her usual state, feeling stronger and happier.

She also says that attendance has gotten significantly better because parents can rest assured that the children will be protected from preventable disease.

Improved Water Access
COPRED also installed a borehole well, which was an immense improvement in water management from the contaminated river that had been the sole water source nearby. The community is very grateful, and takes great solace in the fact that they are no longer living under the threat of disease.

“If our foreparents who died some decades ago could see our village now they would be in disbelief. For Chikalema to have a well to draw drinking water from rather than the unclean rivers is hard to believe,” the Village Headwoman declares. “Now that we have a well, I am very confident that the community will take care of it since it is the only good source of clean and safe water… This well will save lives in my village.”

In addition to the prevention of disease outbreaks, they can now use the runoff water from the borehole well to irrigate the community’s vegetable garden. We are so grateful that friends like you invested in this new toilet facility and water source, which are both going to have indescribable effects on the health and happiness of the Chikalema villagers for years to come. All of these wonderful developments would not have been possible without you!

two women from the chifenthe village draw clean water from their new clean water well

How You Can Participate
In honor of World Water Day, a group of generous donors has offered a $5,000 matching grant, which means that if matched, every gift given up to that amount will be doubled until March 22! Our goal is to raise $25,000 to empower our partners to end the water crisis which has affected hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa for decades. Praise God for COPRED’s impact and expertise, and all of our partners’ life-changing work!

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