Unlocking the Potential to Flourish
For generations, people in the very remote village of Zekanme in Southern Benin were in desperate need of water. This community of 1,030 villagers had to resort to using what little income they had to buy clean water from the nearest city, about 15 km away.
They purchased water from a private operator who charged for the use of their water tower, which was up to five times more than the cost of water from a local well. This placed economic strain on the community, directly impacting the 250 students attending the local school. In fact, it was so costly that they reserved water for drinking only and did not have any left over for personal hygiene such as handwashing.
When the people there could not afford to purchase safe water, they were forced to search for water by creating hand dug holes in dried river beds and gather in deep swamps several kilometers away in the bush. This caused disease to spread throughout Zekanme, robbing their freedom and future possibilities for their lives.
We often don’t worry about the water that we drink, so why should others?
Every person deserves the basic human right to safe water without the daily stress and burden of trying to find it.
At Global Aid Network (GAiN) we desire for this right to be realized. In September 2018, GAiN provided Zekanme with a deep-capped well. The school’s central location made it the perfect place to drill, so that both the community and students could have access.
Prisca, the vice principal of the school, and Francsisco, a grade five teacher, were especially excited to receive a well on school grounds. Prisca is an enthusiastic champion of hygiene and sanitation for her students. Through her advocacy, the school now uses the water from the well to clean classrooms and promote regular hand washing. “The kids now know to wash their hands before meals and after using the bathroom, which has greatly improved their health,” shares Prisca. “They don’t get sick anymore, improving class attendance and creating a brighter future for each child.”
With easy access to safe water, the community was encouraged to plant a vegetable garden on school grounds, opening up new opportunities for the students and securing food sources. It allowed the school to join the lunch program of the Beninese government where schools provide the food and the government provides funds to hire local women to cook lunches at the schools. Today, the 250 children at Zekanme’s school receive a hot daily meal made by the cooks, using the vegetables from their garden and the well water to cook and clean the dishes.
Without the safe water, this school would not be able to unlock the partnership between the school, the community and the local government.
Access to safe water has been the key to enabling children to flourish, especially young girls who carry the largest burden of water collection.
While our team provides the water well, we also work alongside the local church to bring hope and life to unreached people. We help the local church by mobilizing, training and equipping them for outreach, discipleship and church planting. As a result, villagers’ lives in Zekanme were wholistically transformed through the discovery of God’s unconditional love. Two hundred and five people saw the JESUS Film and 40 decided to follow Jesus, many of which are now in follow up and being discipled.
Through our integrated approach, people are reconciled, the social fabric is strengthened, and economic activity is enthused. When the 250 school children and their community receive access to clean water, the transformation has started. When they are introduced to the message of Jesus, total reconciliation is restored.
Today, we embark on our Year-End Campaign. Our goal for this fiscal year (July 2018-June 2019) was to provide 270 deep-capped water wells and trust God to see 104 new churches. To date, we have drilled 232 wells and planted 69 new churches.
Will you partner with us to achieve our goal of raising $323,000 by June 30th? This will provide 38 deep-capped wells for 38,000 people, increase class attendance for young girls, promote economic opportunities for villagers, and introduce the message of Living Water to thousands for the first time!
Together we can make this possible!
Just like the justice that was brought to the 250 children and the community of Zekanme, other communities deserve the same right to safe water. They, too, shouldn't experience the burden of disease among their communities, but have opportunities for aspirational growth and hear about Jesus through their local church that now exists in their village.
Let's make it happen today.
Would you be willing to make a year-end donation of $85, $170, or $425 to help us meet our goal by revealing hope of Jesus and restoring life through safe water to another 38,000 people?