The Water Girl – Plan and Ensto

When there’s no access to clean water at home, families in Timor-Leste in Southeast Asia have to go to great lengths to source a safe supply – and the responsibility often falls to young girls, like nine-year-old Ludivina. Now, thanks to a simple water pump from the charity Plan International, the young girl has the opportunity to transform her life.

Ludivina and her family live in a small village in the mountainous district of Timor-Leste. Their income comes from selling home-grown vegetables. There’s no extra money to spare, and everyone in the family has to pitch in and help.

By losing up to three hours per day collecting water, Ludivina missed out on playing with her friends, studying and attending English classes after school. It had a physical toll too. “After collecting the water I had to go to school, but I felt tired in the classroom,” she says. The family’s inability to access clean water impacted all aspects of Ludivina’s life, from her ability to finish school to finding future employment. According to Plan International’s Because I am a Girl campaign, when girls drop out of school, there is a higher chance they will marry and have children before they are ready, trapping them in a cycle of poverty.

Clean water is one of the basic rights

Now, Ludivina’s burden has been lessened thanks to a new water pump, which was recently installed with the support of Plan’s Right to Clean Water and Sanitation Programme.

The water tap is having a huge impact on Ludivina’s and her family’s life. Now, they have water for cooking and cleaning and they can tend to their vegetable patch.

“Safe access to clean water is essential, yet many families around the world are still missing out on this basic right,” says Hilda Winartasaputra, Plan International’s Regional Water, Sanitation and Health Specialist in Asia. “Children will also benefit from being able to drink safe water and wash their hands with soap after going to the toilet, which will reduce the risks of getting diarrhea, enabling them to study better”.

Author: Mari Häyry