Ma Juhua and her water cellar

China – Ma Juhua’s Story

Tongxin County in Ningxia Hui Province is one of the poorest regions in China, and suffers from critical water shortages. The area also has poor levels of healthcare and education, and basic infrastructure such as roads.

Ma Juhua, 40, lives with her husband and two children in Shiyangjuan village, in Tongxin County. Her family received one of 50 rainwater harvesting cellars constructed by Islamic Relief as part of the Integrated Rural Development Project – supported by the General Waqf.

“Before the cellar was constructed, we had to collect water for drinking by travelling for two kilometres along a mountain path. This would take two hours there and back,” she said. “Because of the rough, rocky hillside, we needed three people to carry the water every time. This was really inconvenient.

“Life is really difficult in this poor, arid area. Before, my children could only get a handful of water to wash their face before school; I only had a pot of unclean water to cook a meal and getting enough water to have a bath was impossible.”

“I appreciate the shorter time that it now takes me to collect water,” said Ma, “it has been reduced from two hours to a few minutes. I now have more time for more productive tasks such as growing crops, tending to my livestock and cooking food.

“We also now have access to water even if there has been no rain for weeks or months, as water can be stored to use during the dry season.”

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