When you need a glass of water, or need to brush your teeth or wash your dishes, where do you get your water? Do you turn on the tap in the kitchen? Or get water out of the fridge? For many kids around the world, access to safe water is still a huge issue. They walk many miles to gather water that is contaminated. This makes them vulnerable to diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid.
These 13 kids around the world will show you the diverse ways children in poverty get their water. (Want to pray for kids in need of water? Scroll to the end for prayer prompts.)
A note about these photos: Every country contains a lot of variety. These children’s experiences aren’t representative of their country as a whole. But they represent the experiences of the low-income communities where our church partners serve.
Northern Colombia: By Tricycle Cart
Getting water is a fun ride for Nicolas, but it’s a lot more work for his mom, Dellys. Each day, she borrows a tricycle cart from a neighbor to transport 12 jugs of water from the community well to her home. At home, they store the water in a large water tank so that they don’t have to take so many trips on the tricycle.
Arusha, Tanzania: By Foot
Vicky in Tanzania used to wake in the early hours of the morning to gather water from three different community taps. If one ran out of water, she’d walk to the next. If that one ran out, she’d walk to the last option. Now Jackline, Vicky’s daughter, can access water at a well at her child development center. It’s close enough to their home that they can walk together, carrying the buckets on their heads, before Jackline goes to school.
Northern Peru: At the River
In the town of Tamarindo, in Northern Peru, people get their water from the Chira River. But this untreated water can cause internal parasites, which made the children in the town sick, thin and lethargic. Compassion’s local church partner installed a water-purification system, and now children have access to safe water!
Northern Sri Lanka: By Water Filter
Getting water to drink is a two-step process for Avishka in Sri Lanka. First, she pumps water at the community well. Then, she carries it home in a wooden bucket and puts it through a water filter so that it will be safe to drink.
Southern Honduras: Up a Hill
Children and families in the rural town of El Muneco in southern Honduras gather water at a well at the local church. In their hilly community, it can be quite a hike, while carrying a heavy water bucket on your shoulder!
Rift Valley, Kenya: From the Rain
Josephine in Kenya stores water for her children in a rainwater tank. The drains and pipes from her roof channel rain into a storage tank. A few good days of rain can provide water for three months!
Kalimantan, Indonesia: From the Swimming Hole
Water is for more than just drinking. Families also have to find water for bathing, doing dishes and laundry, and for toilets. Sadly, sometimes one water source will fill all these different needs, making the water unsafe. These children in Indonesia visit the river each day to bathe, while their moms come to wash dishes and laundry. But community toilets also feed into the river.
Outside La Paz, Bolivia: From a Water Pump
Maria, who live outside of La Paz, Bolivia, gets her water from a water pump. Some of the other families in her community get water from the river, but Maria has learned at her child development center that drinking untreated river water can make her sick.
Pray for Safe Water for Kids Around the World
May a child’s journey to water be an inspiration to you to pray for the hundreds of thousands of children who struggle to find even a single source of safe, healthy water. Please pray …
- For protection for the boys and girls whose long walks to gather safe water often leave them alone and at risk.
- For the health of the children who unknowingly drink contaminated water each day.
- For our church partners as they seek innovative ways to build bathrooms and provide drinking water to Compassion-assisted children.
- For partners to come alongside us as we work to build improved water sources for the children we serve.
Help Kids Around the World Get Safe Water
It’s because of sponsors and partners like you that more children are able to access safe water. Each of the children in this article were able to access things like water filters, wells, storage tanks and rainwater harvesting systems because of generous donors! You can continue to help our church partners as they help children in poverty get safe water.
Words by Amber Van Schooneveld and Brandy Campbell. Photos and reporting by Ben Adams, Lina Alarcon, Vera Aurima, Edwin Estioko, Eric D. Lema, Isaac Ogila, Juana Ordonez and Jonatan Ruiz.