Hiwot, 16, is a student. Water to Thrive completed a hand-dug well in her village of Ketin Serdi in 2008.

I was only eight when this water well was constructed for our community. I remember my mom and my two older sisters were busy every day fetching water from a nearby river. Sometimes I couldn’t find anyone to give me breakfast and lunch, since they all went to fetch water. My sisters usually missed class and had no time to study. They scored poorly on their eighth grade national exams and quit school. A few years later both married illiterate farmers and are now raising children.

I consider myself blessed.  My little brothers and I are privileged to have a safe water source just five minutes away. We have plenty of time to study and we never miss classes. We no longer worry about waterborne diseases and eye disease. I scored well on my eighth grade exam and now am a high school student. I plan to enroll at a university.