A Precious Gift

September 15, 2022

Posted by Amanda, Director of Outreach

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For years, Josephine Mukayubaha and her husband, Aimable, struggled. Like many in her Rwandan district of Ngoma, Josephine yearned to free her family from the grip of cyclical poverty. The odds, however, seemed insurmountable. Josephine and Aimable rarely made enough money to afford the essentials for their four children, including clean water. Instead, they depended on dirty lake water. As a result, both Josephine and her children suffered frequent stomachaches and illness. These conditions forced the family to attend to constant health concerns at the expense of work and wages. This cycle of disease and deprivation had grown numbing. Josephine struggled to see a way out.

Then, the Water Project came to their community. As a first step to their work, volunteers began to identify families that were especially vulnerable to water-borne diseases. Volunteers are trained to assess many different criteria that make a family particularly vulnerable. Josephine’s family came to their attention because she has two children under the age of five. Understanding their need, volunteers selected Josephine’s family to receive a SAM3 household filter.

Even before grasping its full benefits, Josephine was overjoyed to receive the water filter. She knew it had the potential to change her life and the lives of others in her community. A Water Project volunteer trained Josephine’s family and their neighbors on how to use the filter. In addition, they completed lessons on hand washing, sanitation, and other hygiene principles.

Finally freed from the health constraints that had so long held them back, Josephine and her husband started investing in their family’s livelihood and building their savings.

They used their savings to construct a kitchen garden to grow fruits and vegetables for their children. Through the Water Project, they also learned of other programs provided by World Relief Rwanda that could benefit their family, including agricultural training and support, savings groups, economic empowerment opportunities, child development and protection training, and more.

Josephine often reflects on how something as small and simple as a water filter could turn such mountainous odds into molehills.

“Sometimes we suffer out of ignorance!” she says. But now, armed with life-saving knowledge and hygiene habits, she adds, “My children and I no longer suffer like before and my husband, who never liked drinking water, is now enjoying it from the filter.”

These days, Josephine refers to her family’s filter as her “precious gift.” To be sure, it is one that will keep on giving well into the future, supplying time that was once scarce, health that was once elusive, and – most importantly – dignity to a healthier, more hopeful family.

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