Susie's WaterAid mission in Zambia
WaterAid supporter Susie Golics left behind the comforts of home to witness what life is like without clean water and sanitation on a trip to Zambia.
South West Water Employee Development Consultant Susie, aged 23, from The Quay, Exeter, spent eight days (From 12 February) learning about WaterAid's work to improve access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in a country where 10,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoea.
Susie has described the heart-rending scenes where communities have no sanitation facilities and drink water from streams where cattle and humans go to the toilet. One of them was an unplanned settlement on the outskirts of the capital Lusaka.
"It was heartbreaking to see hundreds of children playing and washing in a nearby stream, which was also their rubbish dump.
"After being interviewed by the WaterAid film crew, I was in tears and a young girl came up to me wanting to play. We played and I taught her some clapping games. She was obviously very ill and kept shivering. Her beautiful deep brown eyes appeared vacant frequently.
"She walked me all the way back to our car through the slum, holding my hand in her tiny one. She was my little guardian angel on that day and I will never forget her."
WaterAid has helped transform many communities by explaining the importance of hygiene, sanitation and how dirty water and open defecation leads to life threatening diseases.
Diseases such as typhoid, cholera and diarrhoeal diseases have reduced dramatically meaning children can get an education and adults can focus on producing crops and other items to sell.
WaterAid's Development Manager, Nikki Skipper, said: "The money raised by South West Water fundraisers like Susie helps WaterAid change the lives of some of the world's poorest people, bringing safe water, sanitation and hygiene education. This was a great opportunity for her to see first-hand how their hard work and generosity has made a real difference to communities in Zambia."
Susie is determined to continue to support WaterAid's hard work so far and will be joining her South West Water colleagues on this year's CoastAlong for WaterAid on Saturday 15 September.
She added: "It was an incredibly humbling experience and great to see how WaterAid can change the lives of so many people in need by the simple act of giving them clean water and sanitation. There is so much more work they can do and they need even more support."
Find out how to support WaterAid by going to www.wateraid.org.
Notes to editors
- WaterAid was founded by water industry employees in 1981 with a mission to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in the world's poorest communities.
- South West Water has been supporting WaterAid for over 20 years, and in that time staff and customers have raised more than £4 million for the charity.
- WaterAid's vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation. The international organisation works in 27 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world's poorest communities. Over the past 30 years, WaterAid has reached 15.9 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 11 million people with sanitation. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org, follow @wateraid on Twitter or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid
- At least 4,000 children die every day as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation.
- 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This is roughly one in eight of the world's population.
- 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation, this is 39% of the world's population.
- For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, £8 is returned in increased productivity.
- Just £15 can enable one person to access safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation.
Published: 28 February 2012
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