Mawia’s Life Transformed: From Endless Walking for Water to Dreaming of College


Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

This past spring, we sent our friends a special appeal to join us in the fight against drought — specifically, to help our 18-year-old friend, Mawia. 

Back then, Mawia was spending hours each day walking to a faraway river. This daily journey drained her energy and made learning in school difficult for her. Worse yet, she felt badly about her own life due to the neverending trips to her previous water source. 

“Trekking all the way to River Tyaa makes my life feel [like] a bad one. I wish and adamantly hope that a day shall come when no one in our community will never be worried about fetching water, a day that every community member shall have access to safe, reliable, and clean water throughout the year.”

— Mawia, during our first interview with her

Now, the day Mawia dreamed about has arrived, thanks to the kindness of donors like you, who allowed us to build a new well near her home. When we visited Mawia at the start of July, she had only positive things to say about her life’s trajectory.

“With this new water point, my trip to fetch water will be significantly shorter,” Mawia said. 

“Instead of spending two hours trekking to the Tyaa River and back, this new water source is within a much closer distance, just a few minutes away from my home. This drastic reduction in time spent fetching water will greatly improve my daily routine and overall quality of life.”

Mawia stands at the new well.

The new water source is already transforming so many aspects of Mawia’s life for the better, reinforcing her hope for a better future.

“I will use the saved time used for studying, playing, or helping with other household chores,” Mawia said. 

“Access to clean and safe water [will] reduce the risk of waterborne diseases, which are common when using unreliable water sources like scoop holes. I will also have adequate water to perform both personal hygiene and environmental hygiene at home.

“Since I will not be spending hours fetching water, my parents will manage their household responsibilities better, knowing that I am safe and focusing on my education. Access to clean water will also reduce health complications related to poor water quality, which means my parents will have fewer medical expenses and less time spent caring for me when I am unwell. My parents will also get time and enough water to cultivate and nourish crops in the farm, [which] we will be eating and selling to other community members. [This] will enable my parents to get money to pay my school fees. I will be able to join a good college and make a good life for myself.

A comparison: before your help, Mawia scoops water from a dry riverbed. After your help, Mawia collects water from her community’s new well.

When given the opportunity to share a message specifically for the compassionate people who helped bring this new water source to life, Mawia said: “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the generous people who donated to help construct the shallow well.

“Your kindness and support have made a profound difference in our lives. Because of you, we now have reliable access to clean water, which will transform our daily routines, health, and education. You have not only improved our community’s well-being, but also given us hope for a better future. Thank you for caring and for making such a positive impact on our lives.

Your generosity has already transformed Mawia’s life and the lives of others in her community, providing reliable access to clean water and a brighter future. But our work doesn’t stop here. 

Our team will conduct regular follow-up visits to monitor the water quality and ensure the well is functioning optimally.

We invite you to continue this journey with us by joining our Water Promise Circle, which enables our water sources to remain functional and in-use. Your ongoing support will enable more children like Mawia to enjoy the benefits of safe water, improved health, and the opportunity for a better education — without interruptions, and without having to return to their previous unsafe or distant water sources.

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Jamie Heminway

Jamie is a storyteller by nature. In joining the Water Project, she’s finally found a workplace where that pesky bleeding heart of hers can be put to use (and, less importantly, that BA in English Language & Literature from New England College).