Lessons in kindness
Published 7 Jul 2017
Lilian Shurie is due to start lessons in ten minutes but she knows she’s going to be late. Instead of taking her place in her classroom, she’s waiting in line at a remote bore hole to fetch water.
It’s early morning but already Lilian, 16, is sweating under the searing Kenyan sun. Slowly she inches towards the front of the queue, ready to fill the containers she’s carried here with the foul-smelling liquid.
It’s a long walk back to Kiliku Secondary School in Mulala, Eastern Kenya, and dirty water makes the children who drink it ill. But Lilian and the 335 other pupils don’t have a choice.
They live in a remote, barren area where water is scarce, and their two plastic tanks hold enough water for just two weeks. When it runs out, the children have to fetch water from the bore hole every day, missing lessons to make sure they all have enough.
‘We have a serious water crisis here in school,’ Lilian says. ‘We are only provided with a very small amount each day.’
A large water tank costs £8,754. Midcounties Co-op has raised about £5,700 for Just A Drop, the charity that will install the tank to provide clean, safe water. The Society held a colleagues’ Silent Auction, with further fund-raising in stores and on World Water Day. The money will help buy and install a tank to harvest water from the school roof during the two Kenyan rainy seasons.
This means children will have enough water to cook and clean with, won’t have to miss lessons to fetch water, and won’t become ill after drinking the dirty water.
‘Water changes everything, children are healthier, can attend school more often, it makes a massive difference,’ says Just A Drop’s Brendan Hanlon. ‘I’m looking forward to getting a tank very soon,’ Lilian smiles.
To donate, please visit justadrop.org/donate/just-a-drop/5/credit-card, and add ‘Midcounties’ in the comments box.