Children having lunch in Malawi where access to water is very scarce

Malawi –Nyoko Paleta and Nashawa Waiti’s Story

Nyoko and Nashawa live in Malawi. They are worried that they may have to give up their education – and with it, the chance of building a better future.

In their community, women and children typically bear the burden of collecting water for their family. For Nyoko and Nashawa, this means a 3.5 kilometer trek to the river at the start of every day. With school another four kilometers away, they do not always make it in time for class – especially in the rainy season, when the journey is even more difficult.

In addition, both girls struggle to afford even basic school stationery such as books and pencils.

Nyoko finishes school at around midday. Soon after arriving home, she returns to the river to fetch more water. She then helps her grandmother prepare the dinner, but on many occasions they are unable to afford this. Their typical diet consists of phala, a runny porridge made from corn flour – though the family cannot afford to buy the sugar or salt that traditionally flavours the dish.

Since our initial response to the food crisis, Islamic Relief established a Village Development Committee, which is engaging local people in decision-making about development of their community.

Access to clean drinking water is a top concern for the community, and so Islamic Relief is constructing new water points – boreholes fitted with a hand pump. Nyoko and Nashawa will no longer have to travel so far to collect water, and, with more time to concentrate on their studies, the future already looks brighter.

Read more of our water case studies.

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