Mukandemeye Venantia is a 63-year-old widow from the Gashora Sector of Rwanda. She lives in the Rweru II village with her 6 children and 2 grandchildren. Venantia is a farmer, but has always worked on other people’s land to provide for her family, as she was never able to afford to purchase her own land.
Her family has always struggled to have clean and safe water to drink. They have always drawn their water from a nearby lake. Despite the very bad quality of the water, it became normal to drink this water. There weren’t any other options for her family.
Her family was often sick with diarrhea and other water borne diseases. Her kids were not able to attend school regularly – and ultimately only three of her six children managed to finish primary school. She also recalls to have spending a lot of money for medication to treat these illnesses, in particular for herself as she has gotten older and for her two grandchildren.
Last July, a volunteer came to her home and informed her that her family had been selected to receive a household water filter (known as SAM3). Venantia says that she couldn’t believe it – it was really good news for her family. She went to a training to learn to use and care for the filter. When she brought the filter home, she started to use it.
To her, the filter is simple and doesn’t require any extra effort to use, but as she says, “It is making changes in my life.” Over the past six months of use, her family has achieved things she had previously thought impossible.
She and the kids haven’t been sick. Venantia feels strong and able to work hard to care for her family. Her grandchildren have been performing well at school – their attendance is steady and their grades have increased. With the money that she has saved in six months from being able to work more frequently and from not needing medication to treat water-borne illnesses, Venantia has been able to purchase land and chickens – allowing her to not only work for others, but to farm her own piece of land and increase her income.
She is now confident in the future and always smiling.