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This is the Face of Clean Water

When it comes down to it, we’re all about people, just like our name says. Stories of people’s lives changed by safe water and sanitation inspire us to keep at it, day after day. Your generosity has changed millions of lives around the world. Here are some of their stories.

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  • Bolivia
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Malawi
  • Nicaragua
  • Peru
  • Rwanda
  • Uganda
  • Sanitation
  • Sustainability
  • Water
  • Women & Girls
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Changing Lives
One Toilet
at a Time

Seema Devi was married as a teenager. At this young age, she moved to her new husband’s village, away from her family. One of the biggest differences in this new village in the Sheohar district of northern India was that she no longer had a toilet in her home.

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Water Gives Dreams

When water arrived at Binaga School in the remote countryside of Rwanda, it gave students the future. It provided the foundation for them to dream.

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Water
Gives
Education

When communities don’t have access to water, children have to spend hours every day fetching water. In many cases this causes them to miss school and miss out on an education that could enable them to have a better future.

This is not the case for the kids in Kisaro Sector in rural Rwanda.

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Water Gives
Prosperity

Didacienne had five children and no home of her own. Her husband died nearly 25 years ago in the Rwandan genocide, and after that she had few options to provide for her family – they lived with various family members to get by. And without water in their village, life was difficult.

indian girls at school | Clean Water in India | Where We Work | Water For People

On your period?
No problem.

Ten girls are keeping hundreds of girls in school in India.

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Friends of Water

Debasis Mondal’s bright orange vest signifies the important role he plays in communities in his region of India. He’s a Jalabandhu – a "Friend of Water."

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A changed life…
through emptying latrines

"Do not look down on any job, even pit emptying," says Isaac.

This job has revolutionized Isaac’s life. And beyond earning a better living for himself and his family, he’s a part of transforming Kampala into a clean, healthy city.

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More Time Means
Better Education

"My school uniform had lost its original color," says 13-year-old Martin. The river water his family had to use was so dirty, it discolored all of their clothes and even changed the color of their food.

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Turning Waste
into Fuel

In rural Uganda, Water For People is helping entrepreneurs tackle every part of the sanitation value chain, from constructing latrines and emptying them to transferring and treating fecal waste. In this last step – fecal waste treatment – Water For People is creating a true circular economy by repurposing waste.

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Safe Water
for Generations

"I like talking about water, because water is life," Faith says, as she sits in the shade of an avocado tree next to the home she shares with two daughters and three grandchildren.

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Local Water Guardians:
The Water
Sellers

Laban spends his days overseeing the local water point as community members fetch water. He is the water seller and caretaker of the local hand pump.
Water For People’s Water As A Business model employs water sellers like Laban.

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Meet Aisha

Weave through the rolling green hills of Uganda’s countryside, past lines of banana trees, clusters of coffee plants, and a few cattle wandering alongside a narrow dirt path, and you’ll find Aisha Lubega at her local water point, turning water into progress for her entire community.

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Small but Mighty

The story of one determined teacher who has changed the future of water for an entire community.

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Micrometers: A Simple Solution to Water Scarcity

In the small community of Llimbe in Peru, water sources were running dry. The idea proposed by the water committee was to add micrometers to each household’s water connection, however some in the community were skeptical.

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Don Michael:
Rebuilding a water system

Michael Sagastegui is the president of the water committee in Pampas de San Isidro in the district of Cascas, Peru. As committee president, he oversees maintenance and repair of the water system.

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Doña Maria:
Washed-away
livelihood

High in Peru’s Andes Mountains, Maria Montalvo Arce grows grapes.
Well, most years she grows grapes. A year ago, the worst flooding Peru has experienced in a lifetime washed away nearly all of Maria’s harvest. The rain lasted for a month.

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Don Ángel: Protecting a
District’s Water

Don Ángel went from being a zoologist who worked with livestock to leading the water and sanitation office in the province of Gran Chimu de Cascas in Peru.

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Meet
Luz

The late afternoon sun starts turning golden as Julia, Daniel, and Kimberly play in the fields surrounding their home just outside of Asunción, Peru. Their life is simple and sweet, and they like it that way. Their mom, Luz, says life didn’t always feel like this.

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The Sanitation Shop
in Cascas

Water For People takes a market-based approach to sanitation. Rather than provide toilet hand-outs, we support entrepreneurs to provide sanitation products and services. This approach is more sustainable, and creates jobs and lifts local economies along the way.

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Chapananga is Open Defecation Free

The 216 villages in the Traditional Authority of Chapananga in Chikwawa District in Malawi have been declared open defecation free – a huge milestone for the district, and for Water For People.

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Local Leaders
Championing Forever

Without leaders on the ground and in local, district, and national governments championing water services for Everyone Forever, the wells and pumps don’t mean much. When they break, who will fix them?

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A Triple Force
for Hygiene

Angel, Elizabeth, and Sylvia are a triple force for hygiene promotion at their school in Blantyre, Malawi. The girls are triplets, and they’re all in the school sanitation club. "Water is important because it helps us keep our bodies healthy,"

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The Equation
for Better Hygiene

Combine baking soda, oil, and extract from a local Malawian tree, and it equals better hygiene for an entire community.

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Maureen
the Hand Pump Mechanic

On any given day, as she sees her kids off to school or prepares food for her family, Maureen could get a call from a community in her region. She’d drop everything in that moment, grab her tools, and head off on her bicycle.

Clean Water in Africa, Latin America, and India | Water For People

The Shop Owner

Every day at 7 am, Cementi Mendozo opens his grocery store in a local trading center in Chikwawa District, Malawi.

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Sanitation Clubs:
Making Back to School Better

"Okay, let me give you an example of why water and sanitation in schools are important." David’s excitement is palpable. He’s a member of the Chilomoni Primary School’s Sanitation Club in Blantyre, Malawi.

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Water Starts with Data

At Water For People, we pay careful attention to the numbers behind our work – because data shows us the impact and illuminates our next steps.

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Prosperity
Through
Poop

John overcame poverty through poop businesses.
That’s right, you read that correctly.
"My parents were very poor," John says. "I tried to go to school but my uniforms were so torn that I looked almost naked. Friends would laugh at me, and I decided to stop school."

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Surviving Cholera
and Changing the Future

Annie sits outside of her mud-plastered home, a small thatched canopy providing little respite from the Malawi heat. Her gaze focuses on some scribbled words on the side of her latrine: Tigwiritse Nchito Chimbuzi Moyenera Nthawi Zonse.

Let’s use the latrine properly at all times.

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A Better Toilet,
a Better Life

Folomina’s face lights up when she talks about her toilet. Two years ago, the state of water and sanitation in Folomina’s village was dire. She and the other 20 families in her community would walk two hours each day for water. The sanitation situation was just as bad.

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A Dream of
Safe Water

"It was like a dream to us," says Lilian. She says the people in her community never thought they would have safe water. "We used to wake up very early in the morning to go fetch water," Lilian says. She and others in her community in Gicumbi District, Rwanda would lose hours each day walking to fetch water for the day’s tasks.

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Meet Peter

Peter and his five children are waiting on safe water. "We wake up in the morning around four o’clock, because the first thing we do as the whole family is collect water," Peter explains. "We have to use flashlights so that we can see the way."

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There’s something
extraordinary in the water

Sweetly sleeping, two-year-old Solange lays contentedly in her mom’s arms. Marie Louise’s other children are at school. This scene, almost serene, feels very different from what Marie Louise says life looked like a few years ago. A few years ago, her village didn’t have a safe water source.

Beatrice President of Community Hygiene Club (ddeandres@waterforpeople.org)

The Impact
of Saved Time

Beatrice and her neighbors have an acute understanding of the value of time. Three years ago, women and children in her community of Ngoma in Rulindo District, Rwanda, were losing hours every day fetching water from an unprotected spring.

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Water Means
Change for
Communities

"Children and teachers walked from school to a well near our house to get water and carry it back," said Mayra, who lives with her husband Hector and their two young sons Marcos and Anthony. "They needed water to clean the school, and teachers and students needed it to use the bathroom and wash their hands."

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The Smallest Students
Make Big Changes

The kindergarten in the picturesque town of Nueva Granada, Honduras has reliable water and sanitation services. It wasn’t always this way at the school, shares Dora Ramos, the school’s director.

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There’s Something
Life Changing in the Water

Saturnino Días is 50-years-old, but he claims to have more energy than men half his age. A farmer, he has been working the soil since he was five years old. He and the Honduran land have a close relationship. The land depends on him to cultivate its capacity, and he depends on the land to give him the harvest he needs to live.

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Water Brings a New Hope

When Maria Lopez decided to move in with her husband’s family to the rural community of Nueva Esperanza in San Antonio de Cortés, Honduras, the residents there were on the verge of naming it "El Olvido"- the forgotten place.

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Making Hygiene Fun

The community of Pachoj in Guatemala is 15 miles from the nearest town and challenging to get to – in the rainy season the trek to this tiny town can include more than a mile of walking along muddy roads that often become unpassable for cars. Because access to the town is so difficult, Pachoj lacks basic services like drinking water, sanitation, and electricity.

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A Born Leader

Don Goyo has led the charge for safe water in his rural community in the hilly terrain of Western Guatemala. From a young age, he looked for problems to solve and ways to make life better for Everyone in his community. In many ways, making life better started with water.

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A Sanitation
Revolution

Pablo Terceros Vargas is sparking a sanitation revolution in his rural community in Bolivia. Pablo has lived in the district of Tiraque, Bolivia for his entire life. For the first 32 years of his life, he didn’t have a bathroom.

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Change Starts
at Schools

Pablo has lived in the district of Tiraque, Bolivia for his entire life. For the first 32 years of his life, he didn’t have a bathroom.

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Students are Part of the Solution

Both Maribel and David are dreaming of going to university next year – Maribel wants to be a nurse or social worker, and David plans to study mechanics. One of the reasons they are able to dream about heading off to university is because they go to a school that has safe water and sanitation. They never had to miss school due to fetching water or being sick from water-borne diseases.

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Meet Jorge

When Jorge Arnez gets an idea in his head, nothing can stop him. A silver-haired farmer, Jorge talks a mile a minute. His passion and energy for taking care of his tiny community of Saca Sirca in the district of San Benito, Bolivia is clear.

washing hands together | Water For People Jobs | Careers | Water For People

The Town
of Thagoni

Está muy lejos, they tell us. Thagoni is very far.

Thagoni is so far away, so deep in the mountains, and so spread out that national programs for water access never would have reached it. Just the cost to get a rig up there to drill a well would be prohibitive.

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Meet
Carolina

"I lived in a nearby community, then I got married and moved to Monte Monte," says Carolina. "But there was no water here."

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Meet
Mayor Dunia

Mayor Dunia Rojas is a force to be reckoned with.
Standing four and a half feet tall with long twin braids down her back, Dunia Rojas is the mayor of the district of Arani, Bolivia. She’s not afraid to face a challenge head on – like getting every person in her district safe water.

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Meet Amadeo

Small in stature but big in heart, Amadeo Rojas will do anything for his community to make sure they have water.

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There’s something
worth celebrating
in the water

Simon’s exuberant smile gives away his passion for his task at hand: improve the health of his village through better hygiene and sanitation.

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Women Leading the Charge
for Water and Sanitation

As mayor of the district of San Rafael del Norte in Nicaragua, Doña Norma commands respect. She and her family have a long and respected history in the district, so when Doña Norma speaks up, people listen.

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"Now I only boil
water to make tea"

Isidora Calderon Vargas rests in the shade of her porch while her five-month-old son Abel naps inside. Sober-faced Isidora grew up in this small community in rural Bolivia. At age 35, you can see in her serious eyes that she faced more than her share of life’s difficulties.

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Meet
Rabindranath

In 2018, the award for Best Gram Panchayat (a governed area similar to a U.S. county) recognized Digambarpur, West Bengal, out of the 250,000 gram panchayats in India for its progress in improving conditions for the more than 34,000 inhabitants.

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Loans for Toilets

A lasting approach to sanitation must consider how to create behavior change and local ownership. Many governments or nonprofits give away toilets, but we’ve found that model ineffective and unsustainable. If families invest in improving their own bathrooms, they are more likely to use them.

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Changing the Future
through Safe Sanitation

Francisco Javier Palacios is creating healthier futures in the district of San Rafael del Norte, Nicaragua by changing the way people think about sanitation.

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Luci Fights for the Future

What do you do when the school where you’ve devoted your entire life has its source of water cut off, and your students are left to fend for themselves?

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Water Gives Health

Priscilla works at a health center in Kamwenge District, Uganda. She is the nurse in charge of the clinic and is responsible for ensuring any community members who need health services can receive them. When Priscilla started working at the clinic, there was no access to reliable and safe water, which made caring for patients very challenging.

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN

Your support can help us make the world’s water crisis a problem of the past, for Everyone Forever.