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Water for Vulnerable Yemenis

Yemen: a battered, war-torn country where many people simply cannot afford basics like food and clean water. Here, women and young girls walk miles to gather water. Collecting water in many parts of Yemen is a difficult, time-consuming task. Some girls cannot attend school because they need to fetch water. And the water they find is often filthy and contaminated, making families susceptible to waterborne sicknesses like cholera and diarrhea.

The Water Systems for Yemen program helps ease these burdens by providing fresh, clean water for vulnerable Yemenis families. Supporters’ funds enable contacts to install rainwater collection systems in communities across the country. These systems collect, store, and filter rainwater for individuals, families, and entire villages.

Ayham,* a 45-year-old farmer, lives with his family in a rural region of Yemen. Fetching water for the family used to mean walking hours to a well each day. Ayham’s wife did this job until she was diagnosed with arthritis. The diagnosis forced her 19-year-old and 10-year-old daughters to take on the task of fetching water.

“We lead a very difficult life in the rural areas . . .” Ayham said. “What makes it worse is that some of the wells in our area are often unclean and contaminated, leading to the spread of diseases and often causing my children to suffer from diarrhea. Carrying [5 gallons] of water over long distances takes a toll on my daughters, not only causing them physical pain but also preventing my younger daughter from attending school.”

Rainwater collection system improves lives

A rainwater collection system changed all this for Ayham’s family. Ayham said, “After we received a rain harvesting tank . . . my family and I were able to access clean water at home, and my daughter now has more time to attend school. The water filter has helped improve our health and reduced the children’s illnesses.”

One Yemeni mother was overjoyed to learn that her family was chosen to receive a water system. “Having a rainwater tank at home was a dream of mine since childhood,” she said. “Now I can finally  rest from the trouble of fetching water from the well and my daughter can go back to school.”

*Name is changed to protect identity.

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