Keeping Our Head Above Water

The fall issue of Compassion Magazine is now available, and I’m excited for you to read these powerful stories about how you’re helping children!

One of my favorite pieces in this issue may change your perspectives about water. It’s about Nyabwiri, a 9-year-old sponsored girl from Tanzania whose day revolves around using water.

head above water brush teeth

How much of your day is focused on water? Much of mine is.

Emma, my busy, bubbly almost-2-year-old absolutely loves her baths! She takes a long bath every night, often gulping bath water as she plays with her fish, frogs and rubber duckies.

After bath time, I attempt to brush Emma’s teeth as she wiggles, giggles and closes her mouth so mommy can’t quite get the toothbrush in.

Before Emma’s bedtime, I fill her sippy cup with water. And after I put on her jammies, I toss her clothes into the washing machine without another thought.

I don’t have to worry much about the safety or availability of our water.

But for children like Nyabwiri and millions more like her, water is often unsafe and unavailable.

Every day 6,000 children die from water- and sanitation-related illnesses like diarrhea.

Many women in Africa and Asia walk an average of 3.7 miles per day gathering water from muddy streams, ponds or pumps.

head above water bucket

Most families don’t have enough water to take baths every day. They must boil water for drinking, cooking or brushing their teeth, and they hand-wash all their clothes. For the poorest families, even fuel to boil their water can be too expensive.

Compassion’s partners in our child development centers are keenly aware of these issues and work to keep sponsored children and their families healthy. They teach about the importance of boiling water and using good sanitation practices. They also bring to attention the need for clean water systems in the communities where they minister. And donors continue to fund the systems, including water filters, wells and latrines.

These child advocates are saving children’s lives — children like Nyabwiri who are at high risk for serious water-related illnesses.

As you think about how you use water in your home, take a look at Nyabwiri’s story, and then drop us a note. We’d love to hear from you!


Compassion Magazine takes you deeper into the world of children living in poverty with powerful ways to connect, including stories, photos and videos. This free resource is our gift to you!

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