Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa with a total population of over 52 million people. Out of that 52 million, more than 23 million (44.2%) of people do not have access to clean drinking water. Over 44% of Tanzania’s population are youth, under the age of 15.
Because of the scarcity of water sources, women and children are forced to travel for hours in search of water, and are typically left with no choice but to collect water from unclean water sources. Children, particularly girls, are forced to drop out of school because their time is devoted to providing for their families. Women and young girls run the risk of rape when traveling long distances in search of water.
Those who are able to attend school have such a passion for education that they trek miles to receive an education. Once they reach school, they are forced to learn in over crowded classrooms, with 100-200 students to each classroom. The buildings are poorly built and dilapidated. With 5-6 children to each desk, it makes it very difficult for children to focus and pay attention to their lessons which causes them to fall behind in their coursework.
Worst case scenario, teachers are left with no option but to teach children outside, under trees. As if the over-crowding of classrooms and the lack of learning resources such as books, paper, writing instruments, desks, and chairs was not enough of a challenge, many of these children do not receive food or water for the entire day until after they reach home.
Women are unable to generate income to sustain a thriving household because their time is spent traveling daily for water to make sure their families do not die. Millions of women are at high-risk of infection and in many cases death due to the poor sanitation standards of clinics while giving birth. Thousands of people in rural areas die due to water-borne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, and malaria.
All of these diseases can easily be avoided. Quality of life seriously depreciates when people are denied one of the most basic necessities of life, water.
With all of this being said, The Village Heart, under the umbrella of African Reflections Foundation is devoted to eradicating the hardships associated with water deprivation by providing clean water systems and enhancing the quality of education for children.
Stay tuned as we shed light to the challenges millions of people face and how with the aid of The Village Heart we are able to empower women and children to overcome these problems and create sustainable change for future generations.
There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.