Grace posed for a photo from her home in Ethiopia.
As we sat upon handmade, wooden chairs in her well-kept mud and thatch home, she described to me her daily walks for water as “so uncomfortable, and hot.”
Grace lives in a small rural village several hours south of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Sixty-one million people lack access to safe water in her country. After I learned Grace was poor and burdened by the water crisis her whole life, I was not surprised when she shared with me her concerns for her baby’s health. Grace was pregnant.
For the first two trimesters of her pregnancy, Grace had no choice but to carry heavy water vessels home. This was hard on her body. So, she carried less, and made more trips. A time-consuming burden, Grace told me she just wanted relief; she knew needed water at home.
Almost due by the time I met her, Grace talked to me about how she and her husband were doing their best to prepare their home for the baby. Their vegetable garden was green, the room we sat in was freshly painted, and on the day I visited Grace, water flowed from a new tap just outside her front door. Grace never knew such a convenience, and just in time for baby, Water.org made it possible.
We believe in empowering people with access to safe water. After more than 20 years of research our co-founder and CEO, Gary White, discovered that of the world's poor, millions are capable of and willing to pay for their own solutions out of poverty. He believed that if we could apply microfinance to the water and sanitation sector, these families could pay for and define their own solutions, leaving charitable dollars for those who need them most. Thus, WaterCredit. WaterCredit brings small, easily repayable loans to people like Grace who have some household income and just need access to affordable financing to make their own water connections and toilets a reality.
It is because of this solution that today, Grace has a water tap at home. It is because of this solution that today, Grace is no longer burdened by the water crisis. And, it is because of this solution that now, Grace’s child will not know the water crisis like she once did.
Me traveling to meet a family in the Andes in Peru.
My name is Morée Scofield. I travel to the countries where Water.org works and spend time with many women like Grace. From India to Cambodia to Ethiopia and beyond, I sit upon dirt floors and handmade chairs in the homes of remarkable families to learn their stories. I learn what life was like when they had no water or toilet, and what life is like now that through small affordable loans, they do. From tears to laughter I’ve celebrated with women, children, and entire communities how access to safe water at home took their lives from poverty to possibility.
For millions around the world, access to funds is the only thing that stands between them and access to safe water and sanitation. When given an opportunity to pay for these solutions with loans, families like Grace’s opt to finance them versus struggle day-to-day to find that next liter of water or safe place to go. Grace is one of the ten million people we’ve reached who can now turn on a tap or use a toilet in their home. Water.org stands ready to empower millions more through our approach, and with your support, we will. Donate to Water.org at Water.org/10M.