No one shapes our lives quite like mothers do. The special bond between mother and child can be found in all walks of life, all over the world, and we love taking the time each Mother’s Day to celebrate them and the way they protect, inspire, and nurture their children. We have particular appreciation for the mothers in the rural African communities we serve, whose responsibilities are tremendous and life-sustaining.
Mothers’ love in action
Now that Mother’s Day is here, we are preparing for the year’s first trip to Africa, and we are reflecting more than ever on the impact of our mission on the women of rural east Africa. Clean water has such an enormous impact in and of itself that sometimes we forget to emphasize the ongoing ripples from a well that change lives forever. Living without a clean source of water is not something most of us have ever experienced, and we are rarely aware of how much of our lives and time, are affected by water. When our mothers managed the house as we were growing up, taking care of cooking, cleaning, and washing, most of us probably took that love, devotion, and service for granted. Now, when we visit the remote areas of Africa where our projects are built, we see that same familiar bond between mothers and families. And it’s this love and devotion that motivates the women in these villages to walk hours a day to collect water for families’ daily needs.
The impact on mothers
For mothers in rural Africa, a clean water source doesn’t just mean better-tasting water to drink. Clean water means time — time in their day to focus on their children, to pursue their own education and trade skills like basket-weaving, textile-weaving, jewelry-making, and pottery, which have the potential to provide additional income to their households. Clean water means safety — safety from animal attacks on the long journey to and from a water source, safety from fighting over a small amount of dirty water, even safety from the risk of rape while traveling to this water. And clean water means peace of mind — not having to wonder whether the contaminated water used to cook a meal will nourish your child or make them sick, whether they will recover from that sickness or if their bright future will be taken from them much too early.
Clean water empowers women
By visiting these communities in Africa, and by learning from our own mothers, we at Water to Thrive know that women are fierce and powerful beings. Our goal is not just to provide clean water, but to empower women in their communities. Their position and influence on future generations is incredibly important and should be valued as such. One of the ways we work towards empowerment and sustainability is through the water committees that are a required piece of every one of our water projects. In each village where we build a well, a water committee of six to eight community members is put in place, charged with managing a maintenance fund, training the village on sanitation and hygiene, and overseeing the usage of the well. And at least 50 percent of these committee members are required to be women — because collecting water has traditionally been “women’s work,” and it only makes sense that those being most positively impacted by the new clean water would be put in places of leadership to protect it.
Celebrate with us
On Mother’s Day this Sunday, we will celebrate not only our own mothers, but all the mothers around the world who do so much for their children, their families, and their communities. A gift of $70 provides clean water to a family for more than 20 years. So, for our Mother’s Day campaign this year, we’ve set a goal to raise $2,800, which will bring clean water to 40 women and their families in rural east Africa. We hope you’ll join us in this movement to empower women, and honor your own mother by giving the gift of water and hope to women in Africa who so desperately need both.