The Impact of Clean Water on Children and Caregivers
As an elderly widow who lives along the riverside; Theresie is one of the poorest of the poor. But still, she continues to heed the call to serve her community. Since the war in Rwanda in 1994, she takes in orphaned children. The orphans of the genocide are grown up.
But, her days as a caregiver for children are not over.
Several years ago, Theresie found a baby in the field in front of her home. His parents abandoned him because of a disability. He cannot sit, or stand, or hold his head up by himself. Theresie must do everything for him. She feeds him his meals, bathes him, and carries him each time he is moved.
Theresie makes frequent trips down to the swamp to get water for her garden and for drinking. The water is murky. It is filled with bacteria, worm cysts and parasites.
It is the kind of water that brings sickness and disease to children and caregivers alike.
But, the water that Theresie carries continues to bring health, not sickness – ever since she was selected to receive a Slow Sand Filter through the Water Project. Slow Sand filters, often referred to as bio-sand filters are a common filter solution, widely used over the last century. Our 150-liter model generates enough clean water that two families can easily share the filter. Utilizing gravel, sand, brass, and a layer of good bacteria living on top, this filter actually works best when the water source is the worst. We use these filters in places where the water is so muddy and foul that no other filter could handle it.
Theresie uses her filter to ensure that her adopted son doesn’t suffer from diarrhea or other symptoms that would deteriorate his quality of life.
These days, Theresie can sit on her bench, holding her little boy, and listening to her filter quietly dripping clean water in the background.