This Lent, congregations are being encouraged to forgo a favourite treat and donate the money they save to WaterAid to help transform lives through its Jars of Change appeal.
WaterAid has a range of resources to support churches, including special sleeves for collection jars, Sunday School activities, a film, poster, presentation and all-age talk available.
The valuable support from churches will help end the arduous journeys that mi llions of women and girls have to make every single day to collect water, which often is unsafe to drink.
WaterAid’s appeal aims to help bring clean, safe water to rural communities in some of the world’s poorest countries such as Madagascar, where children like 8-year-old Neny, from Tsarafangitra village, have to make long and difficult journeys to fetch unsafe water from a pond up to four times a day.
The 1.5km walk takes Neny along a busy, dusty road and then down a steep path that is almost impassable in the rainy season. The pond is a breeding ground for malarial mosquitos, and it is no wonder that Neny and her friends often suffer from diarrhoea.
Neny’s dream is that her community will soon get taps and running water. She said: “If we had water I would be able to play with my friends, as I would no longer have to fetch water far away from home. I would no longer have to go to the doctor. I would be able to focus on my studies.”
WaterAid Madagascar staff member Ernest Randriarimalalahas seen again and again the difference clean water and good sanitation can make in a community. A proud Christian, he said:
“As your congregation looks forward to Lent, please inspire them to give something up for girls like Neny, who endure tiring, painful and unnecessary journeys everyday just to fetch dirty water.
“Having grown up without safe water myself, I know that collecting dirty water and drinking it has a huge cost. I am currently considering what I will give up for Lent and I really hope your church will join with churches across the UK who are transforming lives with the gift of clean, safe water by pledging the money they save this Lent.
“Your support of WaterAid’s Jars of Change appeal means we will join children like Neny on their journey to a healthier and happier future.”
Just £5 could pay for a tap so that children like Neny have access to clean, safe water close to their homes for many years to come.
Last Lent, churches in the UK raised an amazing £114,914 for WaterAid, which helped improve access to water in communities across the world, such as in Chibawe village in Zambia, where WaterAid was able to drill a borehole, improving health and getting children back into school.
WaterAid has a vision of a world where everyone everywhere has access to clean water and sanitation. Every year, 78 million people are turning on a tap or using a pump for the first time. If just 8 per cent more people can be reached a year, it’s possible to ensure universal access to clean water by 2030.
To find out more, and to see the resources available for churches and Sunday Schools, visit: www.wateraid.org/lentMarina Thomas