We’re raising $6,600 to fund water catchment systems for 11 women in Mbita, Kenya!
In May of 2018, our group of 12 students and two professors from the University of Minnesota embarked on a service-learning trip to Kenya. One leg of this journey took us to the rural community of Mbita where our lives were changed when we met the Live Long Women’s Self-Help Group.
Live Long members are women who are vulnerable to poverty and poor health (many are widows, some are living with HIV/AIDS, many are taking care of orphaned children)—and these women are working to change the future for themselves and their children. Because of the Live Long group, these 40 women say they feel empowered and a sense of community, and they have worked through micro enterprise to create sustainable businesses with the goal of improving the standard of living for all women in the group despite not having basic needs met. With help from The Village Cooperative, the group is currently working to achieve the important goal of providing a safe water supply at each woman’s home.
Without a consistent and safe water supply, these women spend up to four hours each day collecting the water from Lake Victoria needed to care for their families, their livestock, and for household chores. By contrast, water catchment systems collect rain water in a gutter system and stores it in a water tank where it gets filtered and treated for sanitation purposes. This simple water catchment system can transform the lives of these women.
Support from previous donors provided water tanks for 29 women, but there are 11 women still without these time saving and life changing water systems. Our goal is to raise the remaining funds needed to purchase and install the remaining 11 tanks—a total cost of $6600 USD. A donation of $30 from just 220 people would provide water tanks for the remaining 11 households.
Take a look at the images below to understand the impact of a water tank in each woman’s life.
Juliana is a 56-year-old member of the Live Long Women’s Group. She has lived in Mbita, Kenya for 38 years and has seven children. When she was younger, Juliana became physically disabled leaving her feet malformed and causing significant pain and difficulty with walking. It takes Juliana three hours to go to the lake for water, and she is exhausted upon return. If Juliana had a water tank, she could change her life. Julian feels she could more easily manage her household, washing dishes, doing laundry, and cooking for her family, without needing to invest the time going to the lake and recovering from the arduous journey. She will have clean drinking water outside of her door and the ability to grow vegetables for her family. Juliana could more easily maintain the physical structure of her home by smearing more frequently/easily OR (Juliana could more easily make home repairs and provide home maintenance). With the time saved, she can expand on her business of selling firewood and charcoal in order to generate greater income for her family. Juliana encourages people to continue standing with the widows. If you are a widow with children and you don’t have means to send the children to school, then you lack a future. Through the support of Kelly and the Village Experience, the Live Long Women’s Group stands united to transform the lives of the widows. Juliana’s transformation includes having a home with a cemented floor and a roof overhead; she and her children are no longer rained on. Juliana is grateful for the support from sponsors to get her this far and empower her work toward her goals of raising her children with health and education and pursuing her small business. Juliana believes the water tank will transform her life and take her goals to the next step.
Living in Mbita, Kenya since 1996, Benta is a 60-year-old widow with two children and five grandchildren. Benta is the sole-caregiver for her three orphaned grandchildren. She is working hard to pay their school fees including boarding for two. Before her tank, Benta spent 4 hours each day collecting water from the lake. Benta’s life was transformed when she received her water tank. She is relieved to have water nearby in her water tank. Today she grows vegetables and focuses on her small-business selling chickens and fish to support her family. Benta hopes that soon all the women of the Live Long Self Help Group will receive their water tanks, so their lives can be transformed.
Meresia is a 50 year old widow taking care of 6 children. She supports her family by making and selling charcoal, but she is finding it more difficult to do because of her age. Water is difficult to get because it takes her 3 hours to get to the lake and the river nearby has dried. She has to dig in the riverbed to get water, where there are worms that harm her and her children’s health. If she had a water tank, she could have better access to water for growing vegetables for her family to eat and sell to support her family.
Jane received her water tank in 2015. Before receiving her water tank, Jane had to walk an hour to get to the lake carrying her water containers and utensils while sometimes herding her goats. Now Jane has safe drinking water right outside her door and she can do her laundry, clean her utensils, and cook all at home. Jane has enough water left to water her goats at home as well. Jane is very grateful to have water available to her, she prays that sponsors will support this project so the remaining women can have a water tank like hers.
Rose is a 60-year-old widow with 6 children. Rose was born in the small village of Mbita, Kenya and has lived there her whole life. Rose brings in a small income selling firewood and making cement. Rose spends four or more hours a day walking to and from the lake to fetch water during the dry season. During the rainy season, she uses small containers to catch water but it is not sufficient. Rose says having a water tank would allow her to have water nearby and would eliminate the task of walking a far distance to collect minimal water. She would be grateful to receive a tank and her life would be transformed like the other woman who have received a tank. Rose wishes for sponsors to be moved from the heart. Rose is proud to be a member of the Live Long Women’s Group, because she feels cared for and supported.
Margaret is a single mother who has lived with a water tank for approximately a year. Without money or a donkey for transportation, she would have to send her young children to fetch water from the river which could take up to three hours due to the little amount of water available. Margaret is grateful that she is able to collect water when it rains and she it now home, as well as being able to utilize the water to complete other necessary tasks; like fixing the walls. Margaret describes herself as being happy from the heart and so grateful that she has access t0 water now.