Reporting by Sahr Ngaujah, ChildFund Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone, access to clean and safe water is a struggle for many people, whether they live in the capital city or a rural community. In the Koinadugu District, 11-year-old Nayo faced this challenge.
‘’We used to walk to the bush to an unclean stream for a mile and a half to fetch water,” Nayo says.
For years, everyone in Nayo’s village got water from the stream, which was their only source of water. Contaminated water can cause diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and a host of other waterborne infections. According to the World Health Organization, contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485,000 diarrheal deaths each year.
Nayo is no stranger to these problems. ‘’I was at school one morning when my stomach started aching,” she says. “I quickly rushed home, holding my stomach and crying. A few minutes later, I had a running stomach repeatedly. After the third time, my mother rushed me to the hospital, where the nurse gave me oral rehydration salt and other medicines.’’
And it’s not just waterborne diseases that Nayo and her community faced.
“Sometimes, we encountered snakes,” she says, “and bad boys used to chase us. I lost my best friend, Kumba, who suffered a snake bite on her way to the stream to fetch water.”
‘’Before now, we used to skip classes to go home each time we felt like drinking water,” she says. “Now, we do not skip classes. Water is not our problem anymore.’’
If you want to be a part of incredible change like this, take a look at our Real Gifts Catalog and see what you can give – because access to clean, safe water shouldn’t be anybody’s problem.