By taking part in the Walk in Her Shoes challenge, you’re helping women like Susan in Zimbabwe.
Picture a family of seven, living in a small thatch-roofed hut in drought-prone southern Zimbabwe. The only access they have to water is a river, which is 6km away. This is the problem that 53-year- old Susan used to battle with each day.
Her solution? Walking for four and a half hours while carting heavy water containers – every single day. Twice a day, Susan would carry three 20-litre containers in a wheel barrow. Her 22-year old daughter would help to lug a container by herself.
After this long and difficult walk, Susan could only collect 160 litres of water for her family to use each day. (In Australia, the average adult uses more than 160 litres each day for themselves!). And even then, the water she collected was not safe for them to drink. “‘When you looked at the water from the river it was clear, but most of the time we had diarrhoea and stomach aches,’” Susan says.
If the river was dry, or she couldn’t walk the distance one day, Susan had to dig a pit in the riverbed to collect dirty ground water to drink. “‘It’s hard to comprehend, but there’s nothing you can do and there’s nothing to help your children when they are sick because you have no resources … many people in my community would get sick,’” she says.
In 2015, CARE repaired a broken borehole near Susan’s home. She now has an abundance of safe, clean water just 4km from her home. She still spends over an hour and a half walking each trip, but the water is clean, safe and there is no shortage. It is a resource that the community is proud to own and maintain themselves.
“‘I hope that my children can grow up in good health so that they can perform well in school and appreciate the work that CARE has done for their community,’” says Susan.
Thank you for walking in Susan’s shoes so she and women and girls like her can have clean water. This means girls can spend more time in school, women can earn an income and together they can lift their families out of poverty.