The Gift of Clean Water – Do your children have clean water to drink every day? If not, what would you be willing to do to provide for them? These questions plagued Victoria at her Academy in Zanzibar.
Victoria Issack and husband, Ivan, are members of “The Youth Group” a microfinancing group started in 1990. They meet once a month and save money in the AGAPE credit union. MPA began working with Victoria and Ivan’s group in February 2017, when Sr. Toni met them on her visit to Zanzibar.
An experienced teacher and small business operator, Victoria started a primary school after the local government school closed. Adding a couple of rooms to her home, Victoria began welcoming students including orphans and the very poor. A huge challenge for her is to provide both learning and nutrition to everyone. This includes having clean and sanitary water for these students, the teachers and Victoria’s own family.
Victoria’s school uses the principles of microfinance to address this challenge. Each week, the academy works with parents to help afford school fees and provide food for the students. For parents who cannot fully pay, they come to work in the community garden to pay off the rest of their school fees. The food in the garden is used for the lunches for the school children. Each day, ten mothers help cook and two mothers help in the garden.
For three days, the children get porridge and on the other two days, they get tea for lunch. School lunches cost 500TSH. ($0.22 USD).
While the children are now getting some nutrition, the water problem will take more support to solve. When Sr. Toni visited Victorious Academy in May 2018, there was one faucet to provide water for 110 students, nine teachers and Victoria’s family. The government has stated their water is clean, yet students often get sick from the water and miss days of school, sometimes even dropping out entirely.
To help combat this problem, MPA has introduced a new water filter project that promises to relieve the school — as well as many of our partner groups across East Africa — of its water issues and illnesses. Sr. Toni brought water filters with her and demonstrated how they could be used. They put dirty water into a bucket, connected it to the water filter, and it came out 99.99999 % pure and clean. All the students clapped as Sr. Toni drank the water. Then Victoria and each of the teachers drank the purified water. And then the students wanted to drink the clean water. Sr. Toni showed them how to clean the filter by backflushing. Everyone gasped when they saw what came out of the filter. What a miracle it is to realize the possibility of having clean water and healthy kids!
Victoria and others plan to take a loan to acquire a water filter. When they repay their loans, more water filters can be available to others through MPA’s clean water microfinancing project.