How clean water could change Jennifer’s life

Jennifer is a quiet child who rarely smiles. She carries a look of sadness that belies her tender age.

Her father has passed away and her mother tries to make ends meet as a housemaid. During the day, Jennifer is cared for by her grandmother Sitembile.

Jennifer suffers constantly from headaches and diarrhoea caused by drinking dirty water. As her family can only afford one meal a day, she doesn’t have the reserves to fight off illness caused by waterborne diseases.

Jennifer’s family are among the 780 million people living in the world’s poorest communities who lack access to clean water. The results can be deadly. In Zimbabwe and other impoverished places around the world, a child dies from diarrhoeal disease every 20 seconds.

Severe drought plagues Jennifer’s rural community and Sitembile walks nearly an hour each day to collect water from the nearest borehole. By the time she gets there the line is long and the water is running out. 

In the short video below, Sitembile explains her family’s struggle and talks about her hopes and fears for Jennifer and her little sister Joyce. It breaks her heart to see Jennifer ill from lack of clean water, but she feels helpless to ease her suffering.

Jennifer will be old enough to go to school next year. But her ability to do well in school could depend on access to clean water now.

You can help to provide children like Jennifer with access to the basics – like clean water – so they have the chance to grow up happy and healthy.

In a case like Jennifer’s, your donation could support projects that:

  • help children and their families gain better access to clean water
  • enable communities to build and maintain wells, boreholes and other water sources
  • educate parents and children on safe water practices to help reduce illness and death caused by dirty water

Jennifer struggles with the most basic of needs - clean water

Jennifer is constantly sick from drinking dirty water. It breaks her grandmother's heart that she is being denied the most basic of needs. Watch Jennifer's story.
Read the transcript