Alfred Ngwenya's 930 students are intimately acquainted with thirst. As headmaster of the Robert Sinyoka Primary School, he says his pupils and the school's 23 teachers had no potable water source near their building for 10 years.
"The situation was very bad," says Ngwenya, whose school is located in a densely populated community in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. "Children had to walk up to a quarter of a mile from school during tea or lunch breaks to get cold water to drink. Sometimes they brought it from their homes, but after an hour, [it] was too hot to drink."
Mamabilikoe Hlohlomi would agree that there is nothing like a new supply of fresh, cold water. It is January, which is summertime in the tiny southern African country of Lesotho. A hot wind blows across dusty fields, and Hlohlomi is happily tending her vegetable garden, something she is now able to do year-round — ever since World Vision's Lesotho office provided her with a water tank.
The Machafela villager lives in World Vision's Malumeng program area, a region that has suffered from severe, ongoing drought since 2002. Weather patterns have not changed for half a decade in this tiny, nearly forgotten nation.
"Despite the dry weather conditions, my water tank helps me, especially in the farming season when there is no rains for our plants," says the 51-year-old, pointing to the small dam she's dug to collect rainwater for irrigating her garden. It is bone dry, but she has another option. "With the help of World Vision, I have a tank that harvested enough water when it rained. Now, I am able to use the roof-harvested water for my vegetables."
In 2006, the Consortium for Southern Africa Food Emergency (C-SAFE), with support from the U.S. government's Office For Disaster Assistance, funded 548 plastic water tanks World Vision Lesotho distributed to vulnerable households in the area, including Hlohlomi's. An additional 416 households received materials and instruction on how to construct cement water tanks.
"My children are now able to eat vegetables despite the current drought, thanks to World Vision," says the grateful mother. "Before, our vegetables used to dry when there is shortage of rain like now. I have no job, nor income; therefore, I could not afford to buy daily vegetables for the family."
Meanwhile, World Vision's Water and Sanitation project, now in its sixth year of operation in Zimbabwe, reports further encouraging news. To date, project members have rehabilitated 2,943 water sources, including pumps and wells, and installed 230 new water sources. Workers have also facilitated the construction of 1,430 school toilets and 412 household toilets.
>> Pray for children and families around the world who lack access to clean water. Pray for World Vision's efforts in southern Africa and elsewhere to help break the cycle of poverty and despair caused by the absence of this fundamental resource.
>> Sponsor a child in Zimbabwe.
>> Sponsor a child in Lesotho.
|Read about food shortages in southern Africa, caused in part by prolonged drought.|
Three Ways You Can Help
|Pray for children and families around the world who lack access to clean water. Pray for World Vision's efforts in southern Africa and elsewhere to help break the cycle of poverty and despair caused by the absence of this fundamental resource.|
Sponsor a child in Zimbabwe.