"Let Me Wash Your Face"


Aichatou pours water from her teapot to wash her daughter Aicha’s face.

Aichatou and her children were forced to flee their village in Niger because of attacks from a militant group. Displaced children and women are at risk of infection and disease when water, sanitation and hygiene services are lacking. This was the case for Aichatou’s daughter, little Aicha, before World Vision constructed a borehole in the settlement for internally displaced people where they live. Unsafe water and poor sanitation lead to dire diseases: cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio.

“Life was very difficult in settlement when we arrived,” she says, “because my children and I used to fall ill with diarrhea and malaria all the time, particularly my little Aicha.”

Aichatou used to walk to another village, over a mile each way, three times a day to fetch water, and it wasn’t free.  “Although I knew that the water wasn’t safe, I had no choice, because there was no other way to get water,” says Aichatou.

The lack of safe water had serious consequences for her children’s health, but the arrival of World Vision reversed the situation. World Vision drilled a borehole, built 70 emergency latrines, and set up two committees, one for water management and the other for hygiene in the settlement. These actions have benefitted 570 internally displaced families.

Aichatou’s family now has 150 liters of free water per day (16 liters per family member) and she has free time on her hands to look after little Aicha. There are 1.4 million vulnerable children in the Lake Chad Basin in need of safe water for drinking and personal hygiene.

Photo©2017 World Vision, Joelma Pereira

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