What are the biggest compromises you make? Living in the developed world, you may log more hours at work and sacrifice a night out with friends. Or you might spend an hour at the gym instead of on Netflix. What feels like a compromise might only be a choice between comforts. Now imagine instead of exchanging luxuries for convenience, you were sacrificing your health for food or education. Imagine asking yourself: “Clean clothes tomorrow, or drinking water today?” For many who struggle to access water, these impossible decisions are a daily reality. Valerie lives with her daughter, Grace, in Busekera, Rwanda. On a regular basis, they sacrificed health and hygiene for things like food and education. With no clean water access near their house, Valerie had to shell out 4500 Rwandan francs every month on water, roughly a quarter of her income. To make things worse, she would walk 2.5 kilometers to carry the water home by foot. There was still not enough clean water to wash clothes, and her children would miss school because of it. Then FH Rwanda stepped in. They found leaders in the community to take on the responsibility of maintaining a water pipeline. The community built a pipeline from one water source to five water access points in the community. Valerie, Grace, and the rest of their family finally had water. No more long walks carrying full jerry-cans home. No more spending money on water, either.
Along with having access to water, Valerie and Grace both received training on managing the water access points in their community. They were selected along with 3 other community members to maintain and fix the water pipeline. Both women have a mindset of sustainability. Both play pivotal roles of ownership and leadership in their community.
Each family in the community now contributes a monthly fee of 100 Rwandan francs ($0.15 CAD) to cover maintenance costs, a minuscule price compared to what they once spent on water!
Decision making is now more straightforward for Valerie and Grace. They don’t choose between food or hygiene; they can have both. They’re headed towards a future filled to the brim with options instead of compromise.