It’s September and all over the world, children have trooped back to school. It’s an exciting time of year for children. Bright eyes ready to read and write – it’s great to be a kid.
But what if the kids have no school?
We work with rural people in Kenya and Zambia and we know they are just as committed to education as anybody else. But we learned something interesting; when a village has no reliable source of water, teachers often won’t work there. It makes sense when you think about it. The teacher is responsible to get water for the students, and that water source may be many kilometres away.
At Operation Eyesight, we know that the conditions that contribute to eye health have a positive affect on other aspects of life. One of those conditions is clean water – lots of it, nearby.
Zambia is a country that often struggles to get enough water. But in the Maamba Sinazongwe District, there is water and a school and teachers – wow! In 2008, Operation Eyesight established a well to stop the threat of trachoma in the district, and other things started happening. Just look at the kids.
The Mweela Basic School opened in 2009. It has over 250 students in grades one through eight, and many of them have a long walk to get there. But they know when they arrive that there’s plenty of water for washing and drinking. And food. The school has a garden with okra, beans and maize, some of which is also sold to buy school supplies. The healthy crops are watered from that same well.
To all our donors who helped make that water source a reality, here are a few words from Gillian Ngandu, the school’s head teacher: “Thank you very much – we like the water very much. We find it has helped the children very much. The water is clear and clean. It makes a big difference for the girl children because they like to wash, but the boys still have to be encouraged,” she says, smiling.
“We can do anything with water. Other schools envy us.”
If you would like to contribute to Operation Eyesight’s water projects in Africa, click here to visit our online Gift Guide.