WaterAid invites churches to choose water not chocolate this Lent to transform children’s lives

This Lent, WaterAid is inviting church congregations to give up their favourite treats and donate the money they save to WaterAid’s Jars of Change appeal, helping to bring the gift of clean water to children living in some of the world’s poorest communities.

Congregation members who make the difficult decision to give up chocolate, coffee or other luxuries during the Lenten season are encouraged to put the money saved into a jar of change and then donate the money raised to WaterAid.

The Jars of Change Lent appeal will help bring clean water and decent toilets to communities such as Chiswe village in Malawi so children can stay healthy and in school, getting the chance to reach their potential.

WaterAid has developed an exciting range of resources to support churches in their fundraising efforts, including engaging Sunday School activities, an all age talk, jar sleeves for collection jars and a film. This year the charity is also encouraging churches to hold a Lenten concert.

Maliya,11 from Malawi, does not have clean water close to home. She faces a dangerous and tiring journey to collect it from the river each morning. Her daily burden often makes her so late for school the gates are then locked when she arrives so she has to turn back home. Without a good education, Maliya’s future is at stake.


Maliya, 11, fetching dirty water from Kasangadzi river.

Maliya says:

“My parents say that I should never drop out of school, so when I miss classes, I try as much as possible to copy notes from my friends. It is difficult to understand the notes alone. I need to be in class in good time to actually learn but the circumstances force me not to.”

One in nine people around the world don’t have clean water close to home, while one in three have no decent toilets. Drinking dirty water means children are more susceptible to getting repeatedly sick from waterborne diseases. This crisis claims the lives of 800 children every single day and causes millions more to miss school.

Marcus Missen, Director of Fundraising and Communications at WaterAid said:

“WaterAid’s Jars of Change Lent appeal is a simple and effective way to bring congregations together so collectively their small acts of faith can make a big difference to the lives of some of the world’s poorest communities. It’s easy to take water for granted, yet millions of people across the world are denied access to this basic essential. This Lent, by giving up luxuries and putting the money saved into a Jar of Change, churches can help give the gift of clean water. This creates a ripple of opportunity, giving children the chance to learn, play and have a healthy future.”

Last Lent, churches in the UK raised more than £161,000 for WaterAid, which helped improve access to water in communities across the world such as in the coastal district of Thatta in Pakistan where WaterAid installed a school toilet block with hand washing facilities improving health and getting children back into school.

Just £15 could provide a child with water and by raising £216 congregations could help to help install a 3km water pipe for a community in Malawi, bringing real and long-lasting change.

To find out more and download the free resource pack, visit: www.wateraid.org/uk/lent

Anna France-Williams

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