Skip to content

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.

  • All
  • Bolivia
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Malawi
  • Peru
  • Rwanda
  • Sanitation
  • Schools
  • Uganda
  • Water
  • Women & Girls

"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.


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.


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.


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.

Peru04_Cascas_Cascas_20170912 (11 of 12)

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.



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.

Uganda_2016 (317 of 369)

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.

Bolivia05_Arani_Capellania_20170906 (31 of 106)

Meet Amadeo

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

Uganda_2016_MarCommAfrica2016_Kamwenge_WaterPoint_noconsent (1)4

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.

Uganda_2016_MarCommAfrica2016_Kamwenge_Biguli_UgandaMarCommAfrica2016r32_consent (7)

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.

Peru01_Asuncion_ManuelGonzalezPrada_20170911 (104 of 128)

Small but Mighty

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


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.

Beatrice President of Community Hygiene Club (

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.


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.


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.


Water Means
Change for

"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."


A Force for Good

As Oscar Mejia breathes in the fresh mountain air and sips his coffee, he looks around the school that’s nestled in the verdant landscape. Oscar comes from a long line of educators and has taught children in the El Lanillal community in San Antonio de Cortes, Honduras for over 18 years. He is truly committed to helping children reach their full potential, so he’s glad his school and his community look and feel different than they did a couple years back.

Man emptying waste into a bucket


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."

India06_Bihar_Sheohar_PoP (101)

The Toilet Seller

Dharanidhar Kumar has always been known as "DK" to his friends. But now he has a new nickname – The Toilet Seller.

Antes utilizaban pozos

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.


A Business in Bathrooms

It’s easy to take bathrooms for granted. But nearly 1 in 2 people in the world don’t have access to a decent toilet. Without bathrooms, families lack dignity and risk…


A Drop of Determination

Dry and rough to the touch, Don Guillermo’s hands tell stories of sacrifice, hard work, and pride. With a shovel gripped tightly, and a smile across his face, the 66-year-old is determined to build his family a toilet.


A Drop of Hope

Growing up, Santana remembers watching her neighbors carry water every day. She never gave up hope that this would change.


A Drop of Opportunity

When she married ten years ago, Alphonsine moved to her new home in Rurembo Village, Gicumbi, a district in the north. As happy as she was to have married the love of her life, Alphonsine knew she would face one big challenge – accessing water.


A Drop of Pride

The Rugarama Village sits between hills and valleys in the southwestern region of Uganda, within the Kamwenge District. In this community, approximately 80 households were using one borehole as a water source. However, the pipes broke down and the village was left without safe water.


A Drop of Resilience

Meet Erica Madrid, a community leader, mother, and advocate for clean water for her community of San Antonio de Cortes, Honduras. As a girl, she grew up taking care of her family’s business, and always helped those in need.


A Sanitation

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.


A Teacher Explains the Importance of Water

Jean is a teacher. "I like teaching! I was always excited to be a teacher," he shares, his passion evident. Jean began his career in Kigali, spending several years teaching…

Malawi_Blantyre_2016_World Toilet Cup

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,"


Celebrating Hygiene

Everyone at this primary school in West Bengal, India knows that a successful student is a healthy student.

Bolivia01_Tiraque_UnidadEducativa_20170905 (43 of 79)

Change Starts
at Schools

High in the mountains of Bolivia, one school has made huge changes in water, hygiene, and sanitation.


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.

Malawi_Blantyre_Nkolokoti-Kachere_WUA_2016_MarCommAfrica2016_WaterKiosk (5)

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.

Peru08_Cascas_PampasdeSanIsidro_20170913 (92 of 115)

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.

Peru05_Cascas_PampasdeSanIsidro_20170912 (47 of 53)

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.

Prossy standing in front of her school in Luuka, Uganda
In Luuka District, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues are prevailing in health care
facilities. Water For People implements the Everyone Forever programme which is aimed at
demonstrating that attainment of universal WASH services is possible. The focus is on
ensuring that every school, healthcare facility and household has access to sustainable water,
sanitation and hygiene services.

Education Starts with Bathrooms

"I’ve been to schools where the situation is bad." Prossy is a seventh-grade student in Uganda. She’s seen what it’s like when schools don’t have water or usable bathrooms.  Prossy lives…


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."


Hygiene Changes Everything

For Prisca, hygiene has changed everything. A mother of five, Pricsa lives in the Misanjo village in southern Malawi. She introduces herself with a huge smile. She is proud of her role in the community and the story she has to tell.


Inés, a Community Force

Growing up in rural Bolivia, Inés experienced the tension between her dreams for the future and the stark reality around her. "We had to limit our water use since it needed to last the whole month – we reused as much as possible. And because we didn’t have toilets, we would walk to look for remote places in the mountains and hills."


Letting Girls Lead: Making Community Awareness Videos in Rural India

Instead of a daily trek to find water, girls are finding their voice in one of India’s tribal communities in Chikhaldara.


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?

Uganda_2016_MarCommAfrica2016_Kamwenge_WaterPoint_noconsent (20) (1)

Local Water Guardians:
The Water

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.


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?

Image of a hygiene corner

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.

IMG_5636 (

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.

Peru03_Asuncion_SanIsidro_20170911 (23 of 101)

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.

Bolivia06_Arani_MonteMonte_20170906 (62 of 65)


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

Bolivia04_Arani_Arani_20170906 (28 of 47)

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.

Water Guardians_Web Header - Immaculee

Meet Immaculée

Meet Immaculée. She is determined to end the walk for water for future generations.

Water Guardians_Web Header - Finalisi

Meet Finalisi

Meet Finalisi. She’s a mother of four, a farmer, and a volunteer with an absolutely critical role: making sure clean water is available every day.

Bolivia08_SanBenito_SacaSirca_20170907 (5 of 88)

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.


Meet Simon

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

Water Guardians_Web Header - Siuli

Meet Siuli

Meet Siuli. She’s a college senior in India creating a better future for young girls through access to safe water.

Photograph of a man putting on a safety helmet with graphic blue waves behind him

Meet Sixto

In rural Honduras, there aren’t sewage systems – a health and environmental risk. Sixto created a business to solve this sanitation problem.

WWD23_Water Guardians_Web Header - Teresa

Meet Teresa

Driven by wanting a different future for her daughters, Teresa organized the effort to get clean water to all the families in her community in Guatemala.

Peru02_Asuncion_Llimbe_20170911 (14 of 54)

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.


No Longer the Forgotten Place

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.

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.

Community members plant trees in Arbieto, Bolivia, to help with restoring the area's groundwater supply.

One Tree at a Time

Climate change affects water and sanitation access for people worldwide through more devastating weather events and associated floods, droughts, storms, and landslides. From too much, too little, or too polluted water,…

Malawi_Blantyre_2016_Chilomoni_LEA_School_ChilomoniLEASchool (34)

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.

Bolivia10_SanPedro_SanJosedelNorte_20170908 (42 of 142)

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.


The Business of Supporting Entrepreneurs

Many of us never think twice about our toilet. But as of 2022, almost half of the world’s population lacks safely managed sanitation.

Uganda_2016_MarCommAfrica2016_Kamwenge_Biguli_noconsent (12)

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.

India03_South24_Patharpratima_School (57)

The Little Ministers
of Hygiene

Today, these five little ministers take great pride in their positions and in their school. But that wasn’t always the case. In fact, it wasn’t long ago that the school was struggling due to a lack of access to safe water and clean bathrooms.

Peru09_Cascas_Cascas_20170914 (7 of 19)

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.

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.

kindergarten students in Honduras

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.


The Status Quo Isn’t Good Enough: The Water Crisis & National Systems Strengthening

Last week, UNICEF and WHO released their latest report on water, sanitation and hygiene progress in schools. We are not where we need to be and in our current way of working, we will not get there by 2030.

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.

Samrun (28)-2

The Wait is Finally Over

"Before, the wait for water used to begin in the dark at 4 a.m."


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.

Two women standing looking at the mountainside

Transforming Communities

"We had two springs we used for water, but they have dried up. The mayor brought water in a cistern once a week, but it was not enough. To wash clothes, we went to the river, but it was far away."


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.



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.


Water Gives

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.


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.

Water Gives Time (4)

Water Gives Time

The village of Banashyam Nagar is in eastern India – nearly as far to the east in the country as you can go. It lies in the vast delta on the Bay of Bengal, formed by the confluence of several major rivers. Bright green fields are broken up by trees, homes, and ponds. Despite the networks of waterways, communities in this area struggle with reliable access to safe water.


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.


Welcome to the Makalani Village

Situated between hills, this hard-to-reach village is in the Chiradzulu District in southern Malawi. A mild, cool climate attracted settlers from nearby Mozambique in the early ‘90s who were in search of land for farming. However, this pursuit of greener pasture led to a major problem – lack of water.