Thankful to Be Back to School
Pastor Ngoboka Augustin is the headteacher at GS Rwintashya located in the Rukumberi Sector. The school is large, serving more than 1,700 students in primary, secondary and trade programs. The Akagera River runs nearby, and a multitude of lakes and streams dot the landscape. When the limited community taps run dry, local residents use the water from these lakes and rivers to meet their daily needs. Often, families struggle to treat the water before using it, and the local children frequently suffer from water-borne diseases as a result of this habit.
At school, teachers have done their best to make clean water available to their students. Many students eat their lunch on campus and need water to drink during their breaks. In order to provide clean water, teachers used to boil water from the river. Sometimes, they would not be able to prepare enough water for all the students. And, often the students carried their water from home anyway.
The students are vulnerable to all kinds of water-borne diseases but mostly diarrhea or colds. This would impact their attendance at school and their grades. Some students would be absent from studies often because of being ill.
But when GS Rwintashya received a SAM2 Community Filter, they began to notice a change in their students. Pastor Ngoboka Augustin told us, “We filter jerrycans of water and put them near classrooms so that a student can easily access the water without having to come to the filter itself. This way we keep it safe, and we minimize queues or gatherings, especially during this Covid-19 Pandemic.”
Since the school received a SAM2 Community Filter, there has been a noticeable change in regular attendance. And grades for many students have improved. The teachers believe that this change is a direct result of access to clean water, which has improved the health of their students.
Augustin added that “Before receiving the filter, students used to carry their water containers from home. Now, they bring empty containers, and then they can take back filtered water with them back home. As a school, we started teaching the importance of drinking clean water, and luckily, filters were distributed in homes, so when students go home, they still have access to clean water.”