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Article of the week

From Salvationist 17 March 2018



To coincide with World Water Day on 22 March, Hayley Still introduces the 2018 helping-hand appeal, which will support The Salvation Army’s international clean water and sanitation projects

WHAT does water mean to you? On average, our bodies are made up of 60 per cent water. Water is in our blood, organs, bones and cells. Water is life. For many of us it is plentiful, accessible, clean and safe. When we are thirsty we can turn on the tap and take a drink without a second thought. But what would life be like without safe water?

A lack of clean, safe water affects everything – food, healthcare, education and the ability to play, learn and work. This is a reality for one in ten people in our world today. Each year, three million people die as a result of water-related illnesses. Poor sanitation and hygiene continue to result in the deaths of nearly 300,000 children each year – that is 800 children every day.

A life without water can mean a life trapped in a cycle of poverty. People living without water, and the basic provisions for life, may feel isolated. The possibility of changing their situation – of transforming the landscape of their lives – may seem impossible. Yet when we stand together, great things can be achieved.

How effective is one drop of water? It may seem insignificant; however, when united with others, that single drop has the potential to become part of an ocean, and an ocean has the power to shape and change the landscape in which it exists. Just like drops in the ocean, when we are united, we can be a force for change. As the Japanese poet Ryunosuke Satoro said: ‘Individually we are one drop. Together we are the ocean.’

We were not created to dwell alone. This was not part of God’s design. From the beginning, God said: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone’ (Genesis 2:18). God did not create us for individualism, but for community.

In Kenya The Salvation Army has been supporting communities to gain access to clean, safe water through the provision of rain harvesting tanks, the building of sand dams and the installation of boreholes. By working together and supporting one another, communities have become part of a wave of transformation that is impacting every aspect of their lives.

Thanks to the improved quality and increased volume of water for irrigation, farmers are now able to grow more food to feed their families and use the surplus to sell at market and generate income. They also donate remaining food to school feeding programmes and food banks that provide families and children with much-needed nutrition. In addition, communities have been empowered to work with their government on the provision of health care, ensuring a long-term, positive impact. As engaged members of their community, people are changing their landscape and shaping futures.

Children no longer need to spend time travelling long distances to collect water and the number of cases of children getting sick from using dirty water has dramatically reduced. Through our projects, schools have been able to build sanitation facilities such as latrines and hand-washing stations to combat waterborne diseases. Children now have the opportunity to participate in full-time education and invest in their future.

Geofrey is one of the people who has experienced the transformation that access to clean water can bring. He is forty years old and lives with his wife and four children in Kilome, Kenya. As there was no water source close by, it would often take Geofrey up to four hours to collect water from the river. He says: ‘This water was to serve household use and for my kids to carry to school. This was stressful for my wife and me. My health was adversely affected by this activity.’

Carrying water on his shoulders for great distances started to cause Geofrey health problems. It also meant that valuable time was taken away from income-generating activities, such as farming and the small business he was trying to run.

As part of The Salvation Army’s schools and community water project, Geofrey obtained a rain-harvesting tank. He shares about the impact that this simple but important solution has had:

‘I now have access to clean water. My children are no longer in danger of getting waterborne diseases. The pressure is gone and I engage in my small business and small-scale farming to get income for my family. My kids are performing better at school.’

Geofrey and many others within his community participate in the project’s work at the primary school. He says:

‘I have learnt the importance of

helping others.’

In Romans 12:5 we read: ‘In Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.’ As part of the global community, we each have a part to play in making a difference to our world. Why not put your own skills and abilities to use and raise money to support The Salvation Army’s international work!

During 2018 Salvation Army Family Ministries groups and corps across the UK and the Republic of Ireland will raise money for Waves of Transformation through the helping-hand appeal. Will you unite with us and one another to shape the world in which we live? Will you be part of the waves of transformation?





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