"I no longer get sick or miss school"
“I was always scared to walk to the stream every day for water,” recalls Alvina (13). One of four children, she lives with her family in a small hut in a remote mountainous village in southern Zambia. The family relies on a shallow stream to provide water. It looks clean, but it is actually dirty and unsafe to drink. Cows, goats and pigs defecate, bathe and drink in it.
“We used to wake up at 5am to walk to the stream,” Alvina says. “It was still dark when we left home and we heard different animals along the way. We had to queue up before getting a chance to draw water and often got back home late,” she says.
“I help mum with cleaning the dishes and sweeping the house after fetching water. I did not always finish my work on time to prepare for school because of the long wait at the queue for water. Often, I go to school late and very tired. I would sleep in class and miss out on many lessons. I had very little time to study or do my homework,” Alvina says in a small but steady voice.
Alvina performed badly in school and this got worse when she contracted dysentery – a waterborne disease. “Missing school always made me sad. I prayed to God each time I got sick,” she said. The drought caused by El Niño dried up the stream completely. Everyone in Alvina’s village was forced to walk another eight kilometres every day for water. Once they reached the water source, it was crowded with people from other villages - waiting for water was a long ordeal.
In 2016, World Vision drilled a borehole just three kilometres from Alvina’s house. It changed her life. Together with other children, she can now go to school on time, focus on her lessons and pass her exams with flying colors. “I am very grateful to World Vision for bringing us clean water. We no longer have to wake up very early in the morning to queue for water. We always get enough sleep and are able to go to school on time,” Alvina says smiling.
World Vision also taught the community of 250 people how to improve their sanitation and hygiene practices. “I no longer get sick or miss school and I pass all my exams. I am always third in class.,” she said. Like many other children in her community, Alvina has big dreams for her future. She hopes to finish school one day and become a nurse so she could help all the young children in her village who miss school because they are sick.