With its theme, The Heart of our Culture, National Water Week in Australia is the perfect time to consider how access to clean water is fundamental to our way of life and culture.
In the first hour of your day, you might brush your teeth, shower, wash your face and use the bathroom. You may make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, or simply fill a bottle with water. And the water is clean and healthy. Unless you’ve travelled recently, the water you drink each day probably isn’t making you sick—and you’re probably not worried about contracting cholera, typhoid, or waterborne diarrhoeal diseases.
Each of our realities is a luxury millions of families in developing countries can’t even imagine. The very liquid that keeps us alive is also making these families sick because it’s contaminated. Without access to clean water, families drink water from a source that’s polluted with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. These health risks are severe, preventable and made even more catastrophic when coupled with inadequate health services and medical treatment. Clean water doesn’t come out of a tap at home for them and it might not even be available within walking distance.
Clean water is a precious commodity and one that’s painfully out of reach for millions of families. When water is available, it’s often far away—meaning that women spend large portions of their days travelling to retrieve a few litres of water to ration across their entire family, reducing their capacity to work, earn a living and break the cycle of poverty.
In the Indian region of Bihar, lack of access to clean water is keeping families stuck in the vicious cycle of poverty. In 2012, 74 per cent of Bihar households depended on unreliable and often unsafe tube-wells and hand pumps as their water source. To improve families’ access to clean water, Opportunity International Australia is providing loans to the families of Bihar to connect and purify water. We are also doing this in the Philippines, where Isaias received a loan to access a Jetmatic to provide his family with a source of clean water, replacing their unreliable hand pump.
Opportunity is committed to addressing the many faces of poverty and lack of access to clean water is one of them. We believe that everyone deserves clean water and we know that helping families in developing countries access it is one of the ways we can help them free themselves from poverty.
If you would like to help families living in poverty access clean water and break the cycle of poverty click here.