“If my village had water, my life would definitely have been different.”
In her third year of primary school, Beatrice Icyimanizanye was forced to put her dreams of pursuing a formal education on hold. This was not because she didn’t want to attend school, or because her family couldn’t afford to pay her school fees, but because in her rural community, fetching water was a task left for women and girls.
Beatrice remembers the 2 hour journey to and from the nearest water source that she completed daily, carrying a heavy jerry can. The water she collected was unsafe for drinking and drawn from a river downhill from her village in Tumba Sector, in the Rulindo District of Rwanda. By the end of the day, Beatrice was exhausted.
At the time, buying a 20-litre jerry can of water cost a significant 200 Rwandan francs. For most families, including Beatrice’s, this was out of reach as most of the population lived on subsistence agriculture – producing just enough to feed themselves. Beatrice explained:
“Without water, you couldn’t cook, wash your clothes, or have regular baths. It was sad how you could spend a day without eating simply because there was no water to cook with […] If my village had water, my life would definitely have been different.”
Thanks to support from The One Foundation, more villages like Beatrice’s are gaining access to water and sanitation services in the districts of Rulindo, Kicukiro, Gicumbi and Karongi:
“When we heard about plans to bring safe water to our village, we didn’t believe it until water started flowing out of the village tap. The day water was brought to our village, we danced in excitement, and the entire village fetched water and stocked it at home because we weren’t confident we would have water the next day. But the next morning there was water and it kept flowing for the next weeks and months, and so our lives have positively changed.”
She now says:
“I am very happy because my children don’t have to endure the hardships I faced when I was growing up. I am confident that my children can get the education they deserve. They will grow up telling a different story – a story of hope, opportunities, and good welfare. They will not even have to leave home to access water – they will be fetching water from within their homestead”.
Now that Beatrice’s village has water, the jerry can that used to cost over 200 Rwandan francs to buy is now ten times cheaper – at 20 Rwandan francs.