Water – a critical subject in school
At first glance, Uruhuha Primary School, situated in the Uruhuha village of Rwanda’s Jarama sector, looks much like one might expect. Home to 1,175 students, the wide expanse of Uruhuha’s campus greets visitors with the sights, sounds, and gleeful, organized disarray of children at work and play.
But peering inside, that same visitor would see evidence of the unexpected. For years, Uruhuha has been unable to provide clean water to its students and teachers. This severely hindered its mission of equipping bright young minds for a life of service and success.
On a typical day, thirsty students would raise their hands to leave the classroom. They would check the school’s water tap and rainwater tanks to see if any clean-looking water was available. If not, they would be forced to venture off of Uruhuha’s campus. This raised safety risks and wasted valuable classroom time. Sadly, even when water was available on campus, it was often dirty and unfiltered, causing regular sickness among staff and students.
A huge difference from a simple solution.
Transformation began to take root in 2022. That was when Uruhuha received a SAM II filter from World Relief Rwanda, one of 20 Liters’ longtime partners. After supplying each classroom with a jerrican, school leaders began seeing improvement across the board. No longer having to leave the classroom to find clean water, things changed. Students were more attentive to their lessons, retained more information, and scored higher on tests. At the same time, less illness translated to better attendance, more desire to learn and teach, and higher satisfaction levels.
Today, Uruhuha headmaster Pelagie Niyodusaba views the school’s SAM II filter as something much more than that. “This water filter has saved lives,” she says without exaggeration. Of course, it is true that life-threatening diseases have been avoided as a result of Uruhuha’s filter; but to be sure, lives that had begun to detour away from achievement, potential, and deep fulfillment have been joyously rerouted. Because of clean water, sickness has been traded for success, vitality has replaced vulnerability, and a bright future outshines what many students and teachers once saw as futile efforts. One jerrican at a time, the Uruhuha community is taking steps towards lasting change.